Envisioning Europe: China Through Western Eyes
Professor Kerry Brown - “China Through Western Eyes: 800 Years of Cultural and Intellectual Encounters” - Envisioning Europe online lectures series
Europeans have been aware of China for hundreds of years. Contact had even been made prior to Marco Polo in the 13th century. The arrival of the Jesuit missionaries in the 16th and 17th century gave rise to a more structured dialogue, one that continued, with various gaps, through the Enlightenment into the modern age. However, one of the striking features of this relationship is the range of conflicting European perceptions, ranging from regarding China as different and exotic, a place of high culture and of a real alternative in terms of worldview and values, to seeing China as a threat and a place of barbarity, cruelty and tyranny. The views of seminal figures like Leibniz, Voltaire and Montesquieu in the 17 and18th century typify this, split between the admiring, the critical, and, in the case of Leibniz, the attempt to be objective (though how, and on whose terms, is open to debate). This talk will examine this history, and identify structures which can help illuminate the nature of Europe’s relationship with China today.
Kerry Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College, London. He is an Associate of the Asia Pacific Programme at Chatham House, London. From 2012 to 2015, he was Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Prior to this, he worked at Chatham House from 2006 to 2012 as Senior Fellow and then Head of the Asia Programme. From 1998 to 2005, he worked at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Beijing, and then as Head of the Indonesia, Philippine and East Timor Section. He studied at Cambridge University and holds a PhD in Chinese politics and language from the University of Leeds.. He is the author of almost 20 books on modern Chinese politics. He has recently been awarded the China Cultural Exchange Person of the Year.
Moderated by Maximilian Rech, assistant Professor and Director of the Mastère Spécialisé® in Supply Chain Management and Purchasing at SKEMA Business School in Lille and Paris, France. Maximilian specialises in geoeconomics and macro-economic cooperation along the Belt and Road Initiative. He focuses on the digital transformation of business models and best practices in digital marketing and supply chain management. Maximilian is a frequent media commentator and his work has been published by Palgrave Macmillan, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, and Springer Nature.
Introduction by Constanze Itzel, Museum Director of the House of European History.
In the light of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the House of European History is launching an online lecture series entitled ‘Envisioning Europe’. From 22 June 2021 to 19 July 2022, the HEH shares its floor with 12 prominent historians to exchange insights into the past and present Europe. Voices outside Europe also contribute to contextualising this dialogue with external perspectives. Each lecture includes a moderated Q&A session.