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Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 19:30

Thinking through China

Jerusha McCormack, Professor, Beijing Foreign Studies University

John Blair, Professor, Beijing Foreign Studies University


Embassy of Norway

1 Sanlitun Dong Yi Jie

挪 威 大 使 馆 三 里 屯 东 一 街 1 号

Nuowei Dashiguan 1 Sanlitun Dong Yi Jie

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Thinking through China, the latest book written by Professors Jerusha McCormack and John Blair, takes ten Chinese concepts that act as keys to Chinese worldviews, explaining how they relate to their Western counterparts. It poses questions which are asked repeatedly about China. But rather than answering these questions in Western terms, the authors respond using these ten Chinese concepts. Not surprisingly, the answers are quite different from the ones produced through Western categories.

This newly altered perspective is used to look again at the West and how it has privileged concepts quite dissimilar from those active in the rest of the world. By changing the perspective through which China is usually viewed, the book promotes the recognition of China's ancient and legitimate (if radically different) values. Such recognition is crucial if only because the West and China must come to some understanding of each other if they are to take effective action on the impending climate crisis.

For more than a decade, Professors Blair and McCormack have taught a course comparing China and the West devised for graduate students at the School of English and International Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University. The readings for this course, in a 4th edition published by Fudan University Press as Comparing Civilizations: China and the West, form the basis of present meditations on the complex relationship between these two worlds.