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New collection in honor of Prof. Rudolf Wagner

24. Okt. 2019

Prof. Barbara Mittler is co-editor of “China and the World – the World and China: A Transcultural Perspective,” a recently published collection of four volumes of essays in honor of Prof. Rudolf G. Wagner, former director of the Cluster “Asia and Europe.” Several HCTS members figure among the contributors.

Prof. Barbara Mittler, the acting director of the Cluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, co-edited the collection of essays “China and the World – the World and China: A Transcultural Perspective” together with Prof. Joachim Gentz, Prof. Natascha Gentz and Prof. Catherine Vance Yeh. The collection honors the career of Prof. Rudolf G. Wagner, former director of the Cluster “Asia and Europe” and senior professor at the Institute of Chinese Studies at Heidelberg University.

The first volume, “Transcultural Perspectives on Pre-modern China,” brings together a set of contributions relating to the pre-modern period, which reveals thematic clusters that correspond to the three main periods of Chinese pre-modern history. The volume opens with a preface by Barbara Mittler and Monica Juneja, the professor of Global Art History at the HCTS, on “The Joys of Transculturality. China and the World – the World and China: A Transcultural Perspective.” Michael Radich, the professor of Buddhist Studies at the HCTS, contributed the essay “Kumārajīva’s “Voice?,” about the Buddhist monk and translator Kumārajīva.

The contributions in the second volume, “Transcultural Perspectives on Late Imperial China,” are linked by a common interest in questions of transculturality, hybridity, contact zones and third spaces. These are concepts and ideas quite central to Rudolf G. Wagner’s scholarly oeuvre. In addition, they explore the importance of translation as a cultural practice. The contribution by Joachim Kurtz, the professor of Intellectual History at the HCTS, titled “Kant in China: Eine philosophische Wahlverwandtschaft,” highlights the common themes of the volume.

The studies in the third volume, “Transcultural Perspectives on Modern China,” span a long twentieth century of cultural production in China. All of them deal with questions of readership and reception, and, related to this, of persuasion, legitimation and trust: how does one successfully draw an audience in China; how does one convince; what is an effective rhetorics or argumentation? Barbara Mittler here is both co-author of the introductory chapter and author of the essay “Useful New Knowledge for Everyone to Digest? Transcultural Remakings of the Encyclopedic
in the Encyclopedic Dictionary of New Knowledge (Xin wenhua cishu 新文化辭書, Shanghai 1923).”

The fourth and last volume, “Transcultural Perspectives on Global China,” is testimony to the imprint Rudolf G. Wagner has made in many disciplines, and covers contributions from Indology to Egyptology and Theology, from world history, to world literature, to Esperanto as a world language. This volume features five contributions by HCTS members. Barbara Mittler wrote the Editorial and the essays “Moving Mountains: Of Foolish Old Men Who Want to Move Mountains,” and “Of Sun, Moon and Stars: Con-/Traversing China and the World in Salon Style – in place of a Tabula Congratulatoria.” Axel Michaels, former director of the Cluster and founding director of the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS), wrote a piece on “Lost in Transhimalayan Transculturality. Opium, Horses and an Englishman between China, Tibet and Nepal;” and Perry Link, associate member of the HCTS and former HCTS fellow, contributed the essay “The Expansive Scholar.”


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