A Bonanza of Guest Lectures at the RAS

The RAS were treated to two informative lectures this week in their Guest Series. On Tuesday Professor Richard Lynn opened out how the Zhuangzi had influenced Western literature before the first full translations were available. He also showed how different translators varied in their accuracy even in subsequent translations by the same author.

Professor Richard Lynn

The talk was followed by some perceptive questions which continued in the following drinks reception.

On Wednesday Professor Sonja Arntzen spoke on the Sarashina Diary, a stunningly modern and beautiful diary written in the 11th century by Sugawara no Takasue no musume.

Professor Sonja Arntzen

Professor Arntzen’s lecture brought to life the beauty and vividness of the work, including its influential poetry, and readily communicated the author’s love of reading, one which can still be identified with a thousand years later. Professor Arntzen recently co-authored a new translation and introduction to this work which we hope is widely enjoyed and appreciated. Her lecture was followed by a lively discussion and drinks reception.

Though we regret to inform you that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the programmed lecture scheduled for Thursday 11th June has been postponed, we would like to draw your attention to two more Guest Lectures in the near future:

On Thursday 4th June, at 6pm, Melissa S. Dale, Executive Director and Assistant Professor at the Center for Asia Pacific Studies, University of San Francisco, will lecture on Discovering the Real Lives of China’s Emasculated Servants: Chinese Eunuch History Revisited.
Emasculating males to become servants for the Chinese emperor was intended to produce a submissive and loyal workforce. During the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), eunuchs played a vital role in the operation of the daily life of the imperial court. Representations of eunuchs in the historical record have traditionally cast eunuchs as conniving, corrupt, and selfish individuals who interfered in politics and illegally amassed personal wealth. Due to high illiteracy rates among eunuchs, restricting eunuch voices in historical sources, research today necessitates the use of unconventional and often overlooked sources.
Further into June we are delighted to host a lecture by the 2014 winner of the Society’s Barwis-Holliday Award for Far Eastern Studies. On 18th June George Kam Wah Mak, Research Assistant Professor at David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, will speak on The Annotation Question of the Chinese Protestant Bible in Late Qing China.

The final event in the Student Lecture Series on Tuesday 16th June will  be the showing of the film, The Love of Books – A Sarajevo Story. This Oxford Film and Television Production (2012), directed by Sam Hobkinson, tells the story of a group of men and women who risked their lives to rescue a library – and preserve a nation’s history – in the midst of the Bosnian war.