Sinic Perspectivism in Multi-universal Epistemes:
A Proposal for Chinese Area Studies

Speaker: Yongjia Liang
Date & Time:
2024-4-12 | 17:30-19:00 (Shanghai)
Venue: E903-904, NYU Shanghai New Bund Campus
Or via Zoom Webinar ID: 944 4230 1585; Passcode: 608822

Chinese Area Studies faces skepticism due to the immense volume of knowledge it encompasses. However, I propose a counterargument through the notion of “Sinic Perspectivism,” which acknowledges multi-universal epistemes in a world of global diverse cultural systems. Rather than merely collecting information, Area Studies should interpret data through our unique perspectives, transcending the practice of provincializing Europe or unmasking orientalism. This approach reorients knowledge production to generate insights into global phenomena using diverse cultural frameworks. Thus, Area Studies offers an opportunity to broaden our understanding of China by embracing multi-universal perspectives. I will elucidate my arguments by analyzing a Melanesian exchange system through the lens of Laozi.

Yongjia Liang is Qiushi Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Department of Sociology and Director of the Institute of Anthropology, Zhejiang University. In addition to numerous Chinese publications, he publishes with American Anthropologist, Religions, China Review, the Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, and Routledge. He is currently interested in social scientific knowledge production, religion and nation-building, and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Introduction by Tansen Sen, Professor of History, Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai.



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