Monday lecture: From Shanghai Modern to Shanghai Postmodern - Cosmopolitan Elements of the City of Shanghai

Lecture by: Professor Wang Ning, Tsinghua University, Beijing

Elements of cosmopolitanism can already be found in ancient Chinese philosophy, especially the so-called tianxia guan. The notion of cosmopolitanism already attracted Chinese intellectuals in the 1920s when nationalism dominated Chinese academia and intellectual circles, however the cosmopolitanism we are discussing now is a new term translated from the West along with the advent of modernity in the May 4th period and globalization in the late 20th century. Recently the term has been discussed with regard to global modernity and postmodernity although Chinese scholars have not published much on the topic.

As Shanghai has been a cosmopolitan metropolis since the beginning of the 20th century, and has been playing an increasingly vital role in China’s process of modernization as well as in the broader context of global economy and culture in recent years, the lecture will focus on Shanghai as case study both to de- and to reconstruct global modernity as a concrete Chinese practice. To the author, it is the cosmopolitan elements of Shanghai that helped to reconstruct a sort of Chinese modernity mixed with elements of postmodernity. The lecture will therefore continue toward a reconstruction of Shanghai postmodern with regard to the cosmopolitanism of Chinese characteristics.

About Professor Wang Ning:

Wang Ning. Picture: private
Wang Ning. Picture: private

Wang Ning is Changjiang Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Tsinghua University and Zhiyuan Chair Professor of Humanities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He was elected to the Academy of Latinity in 2010 and to Academia Europaea in 2013. In addition to his numerous books and articles in Chinese, he has authored two books in English: Globalization and Translation (2004) and Translated Modernities: Literary and Cultural Perspectives on Globalization and China (2010). He has also published extensively in English in many international prestigious journals like New Literary History, Critical Inquiry, Modern Language Quarterly, Modern Fiction Studies, boundary 2, Narrative, Neohelicon, European Review, Semiotica, ARIEL, ISLE, Comparative Literature Studies, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Telos, and Journal of Contemporary China