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East-West Dialogues: The Transferability of Concepts in the Humanities

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Edited By Christoph Bode, Michael O'Sullivan, Lukas Schepp and Eli Park Sorensen

This is an edited collection of essays drawn from collaborative events organized jointly by The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The book focuses on how literary and cultural perspectives from different humanities academic environs in Asia and Europe might contribute to our understanding of the "transferability of concepts." Exploring ways in which these traditions may enter into new and productive collaborations, the book presents readings of a wide range of Western and Eastern writers, including Shakespeare, J.M. Coetzee, Yu Dafu. The book contains a virtual round table followed by four thematic sections – "Travels and Storytelling," "Translation and Transferability," "Historical Contexts and Transferability," and "Aesthetic Contexts and Transferability."

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A Virtual Round-Table Discussion on the Cross-Cultural Transferability of Concepts in the Humanities: Christoph Bode, Zhang Longxi, Leo Ou-Fan Lee et al.

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Christoph Bode, Zhang Longxi, Leo Ou-Fan Lee et al.

CB: Dear friends and colleagues, please allow me to briefly summarize the line of argument I made during my talk at the “Narrative and Cross-Cultural Humanities” conference at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in May 2018. My starting point was a well-known problem in Comparative Literature, viz. that, although we speak habitually of ‘European Romanticism,’ it is notoriously difficult to define common features of the different national European Romanticisms that all of them would share. I then made a few suggestions – four, to be exact – as to how that problem of conceptualization could be solved elegantly and in the end ventured to say that I believed the processes of re-conceptualization advocated here might possibly be used to solve similar challenges in the cross-cultural transference of concepts. In other words: I suggested my conceptual transformations could be paradigmatic in the sense that they could be applied elsewhere as well.

Before I began to sketch my transformations, or moves, however, I made two very basic points, the first being that, although I believed that much, if not all, of what I was going to say could also be applied to Romantic music, Romantic painting and sculpture, Romantic philosophy or any other cultural phenomena of that era, my subject was first and foremost European literatures of the Romantic period. My second, equally basic point was that, unlike dates, periods are not facts. Periods are constructs. We construct them...

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