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Wednesday 30 January – Chinese Charity – Confucius Institute Free Public Talks on China

January 29, 2013

The Confucius Institute
Free Public Talks On China
Chinese History and the Politics of Charity
Dr Pierre Fuller (University of Manchester)

Chronic famine, war and revolution have struck China over the last two hundred years. The 19th and 20th century explosion in journalism, published memoirs and other media depicting such events has helped make the Chinese experience synonymous in the Western imagination with struggle and sacrifice. But to what extent have institutions and practices existed in Chinese communities to mitigate or forestall suffering? How have these customs changed in China’s modern period? And to what extent do Chinese today share in the bleak Western view of their own past?

This talk explores the vibrant traditions of charity and poor relief in the Ming and Qing dynasties as revealed by China’s rich historical record, as well as the changes wrought to them in the turbulent modern period when missionary and revolutionary programs helped erase memory of the country’s humanitarian legacies. Historians have only just begun filling in the huge gaps in our current knowledge of this fundamental area of traditional Chinese culture, which, understood properly, should help us anticipate what lies ahead as Chinese again look to their past to navigate their increasingly post-socialist present.

The Confucius Institute public talks are free and open to all. There is no need to book, just come along on the day.

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