Unpacking China: An International Symposium

Apr 25–26
CGIS, Harvard University, Cambridge

Sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, and the Harvard-Yenching Institute.

Is China, as Lucian Pye once described it, a "civilization pretending to be a state" or as modern and cohesive a nation-state as any other? Does China include the "eighteen provinces" of the Qing Empire, or does it barely extend past the Central Plain? Is there a variety of Chinese dialects or are there several Sinitic languages? Recent scholarship in both Sinophone and Anglophone spheres has come increasingly to treat “China” and Chineseness as intellectual problems deserving of careful, critical consideration from a range of disciplines, among them history, political science, anthropology, sociology, literature, and linguistics. This symposium will bring together scholars and students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to define problems, raise concerns, offer approaches and ideas, and evaluate prior research on the matter of China as an imaginary, as an object of knowledge, and as an object of cognition.

Participation by invitation only.