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Oxford Professor will give insight into Chinese Culture

February 14th, 2014
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A renowned Oxford Professor of Chinese studies will be visiting Old Swinford Hospital on Friday 7 March.  Professor Barend J ter Haar will deliver his ‘Run Run Shaw’ lecture, which will give an insight into Chinese culture, its history, language and identity.  This fascinating lecture, from 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm, is open to the public and seats can be reserved by contacting Old Swinford Hospital on 01384 817300 (office closed for half term 17-21 Feb).

Donations will be collected at the end of the evening for the China-Britain Youth Association.

The lecture will close the programme of events for Mandarin Enrichment Day at Old Swinford Hospital.  During the day, students will be exploring what it is like to be a typical teenager in China and cover aspects such as home life, school, culture and social life.  They will also look at the geography of the country, what it’s like to travel around China and how the country varies from region to region.  Students will also have the opportunity to learn more about the language.

Professor Haar teaches Chinese studies at the University of Oxford, with a strong focus on cultural and religious history. Although primarily a social and cultural historian, the religious dimension, so central to Chinese traditional life, has taken up much of his research.  He has also worked extensively on issues of ethnic identity, violence and fear, and social organisation. Professor Haar’s appointment at Oxford as Run Run Shaw Chair of Chinese is funded by the famous movie tycoon from Hong Kong, Sir Run Run Shaw.

Speaking about the forthcoming lecture Professor Haar said “When we use the word “China” we forget that this is a foreign word and not one used by the Chinese themselves. A lot of questions are raised when talking about Chinese history. What are the borders of China today and in the past? Did China have borders in the first place? And even more complicated is the question “who are the Chinese?” Is there such a thing as a national Chinese identity and how old is this identity. What is the role of language in the creation of this identity? Throughout this talk I will give concrete examples, also from my own experience and I will end by making an argument for learning (some) Chinese.”