Rombouts Conference 2011

Globalization and Glocalization in China, 6 & 7 September 2011

Globalization in scholarly debate is a confusing term, since it refers to the integration of distant regions, but not necessarily global, i.e. worldwide. Glocalization on the other hand is the formation of local identity in opposition to global influences. Whilst providing plenty of debate in disciplines such as the sociology of Western societies, the effects of Globalization and Glocalization have not been sufficiently examined with regard to modern or pre-modern China. This conference seeks to redress the balance and will explore how these two themes influence our understanding of China in the fields of religion, (intellectual) history, visual and material culture.

You can download the programme here.

 

Panel abstracts

Globalization and Glocalization in Chinese History

In this panel we will look at the influence of globalization and glocalization on political and cultural identity in Chinese history. The concept of Sinicsation is still strong in the field of Chinese studies, however, this notion of superior Chinese culture versus impressionable barbaric society is outdated and is in desperate need of revision.

The panel includes various topics:

  • European military culture and perceptions of the Ming military.
  • The dichotomy of the Yuan dynasty, Mongol province or Chinese dynasty?
  • The competition between horses (Central Asia) and ships (riverine and maritime Asia) for the attention of the Chinese court.

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China and the Global: Visual and Material Culture

In this panel different case studies showcase interactions in the field of visual and material culture and put them in relation to China and ‘the Global’. Dutch and Flemish agency and cultural identity serve as the panel’s focal point in analysing Chinese objects as works of art and transmitters of (cultural) information.

The case studies include:

  • Chinese-European objects in the treatise of a Flemish Jesuit around 1670
  • Chinese export art in 18th and 19th century Dutch collections
  • The contemporary designs of a ‘Holland Village’ in Shenyang

The panel seeks to study its subjects with art historical as well as cultural studies methods to gain new insights on the links between art and the representation of culture, china and China.

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“Religions” on Display in China: Global and Glocal

An inquiry into the display of religions in contemporary China is in nature the inquiry into the intertwined relationships between the force of global economics, the reactions of local agencies, and attitudes of the state. Religion as a lens to explore this issue has special merit to lay out a temporal and spatial trajectory of the diverse forms regarding the dynamics between the locals, the elites, and the state.

The display of religion has continually been a contested field within this dynamics. As China welcomes both international and domestic tourists, the nature of religion has become more multifaceted and the face of religion has been transformed dramatically from superstition to cultural quintessence that can be displayed in a global setting. This panel aims to understand the meaning and the face of religion in China by reconsidering the role of religion from imperial to modern China, from the center to the periphery.

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Global and Glocal Ideas: Intellectual History

This panel offers a platform to explore how knowledge is constructed, classified and canonised in traditional and modern China. Within this theme, special attention is paid to how local and global dynamics influence each other and how new systems of knowledge are developed. It sees encounters of knowledge with different origins as a trans-cultural process which neither implies a one way process of transmission and reception nor results in a fundamental break with a local past.

This panels deals with issues such as universality and particularity in scientific classification, characteristics of Chinese classical studies, and the re-categorization of concepts such as li (ritual, propriety) into religion, education and custom in traditional and modern China.

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