Blog Archives

20 april: Fresco Sam-Sin: Mantsjoes toen en nu in gedichten en gebeden

Mantsjoes toen en nu in gedichten en gebeden


Bijna drie eeuwen lang heersten de Mantsjoes over een van de grootste landrijken ooit, de Daiqing (1636-1912). Na de val van hun rijk viel de Mantsjoes haat, hoon en onderdrukking ten deel. Fresco Sam-Sin zal met gedichten en gebeden het lot van de Mantsjoes aan u introduceren: van bidden in het wild en in het donker, via lof-, hof- en liefdesverzen, tot trauma op rijm en burleske macaroni om te eindigen met beelden en geluiden van moderne poëzie. Welke invloed hebben de gebeden en gedichten van toen op de dichters en sprekers van nu?

20 april: Amsterdam – Perdu

China Seminar 28 March: Monica Klasing Chen

China Seminar: Why remember? Memory and practical knowledge in Chinese painting texts

Monica Klasing Chen (Leiden University)

28 March, 15.15-17.00, Lipsius 235


During the Ming dynasty, practical knowledge on painting began to be broadly sought after and circulated, rendering the printing of didactic texts both economically and socially profitable. Such texts were included, for example, in daily-use encyclopedias 日用類書, which offered brief entries and presented the content in a rhymed format to facilitate memorization. The major concern voiced by the editors of such works was to make this knowledge broadly available.

During the mid-Qing dynasty, when it had become common for scholar-artisans to author their own didactic texts, they began to question the value of standardized rules, giving memorization a secondary role in their theories. Nevertheless, a turn towards remembering and memorization would occur once again during the end of the Qing dynasty, following the traumatic events of the Taiping rebellion and the widespread efforts of scholars to reaffirm their local identity. In this talk I argue that the role of memory was closely related to the social function given to practical knowledge by scholars, who also shaped practices of remembering.


Monica Klasing Chen is a doctoral candidate at the Leiden Institute for Area Studies. Her dissertation project analyses the use of mnemonics in the field of Chinese painting and calligraphy, with a focus on the social value of memory practices and the transmission of practical knowledge through text and image.

CHILL!: 28 March: Chen Aoju


Chinese Linguistics in Leiden

Spring 2018

All talks Wednesdays 15:15-16:30, Van Wijkplaats 2, room 006


28 March

Chen Aoju (Utrecht): “Same prominence, different developmental paths: Prosodic focus-marking in children acquiring Mandarin and West Germanic languages”


abstract In both West Germanic languages and Mandarin, speakers distinguish the im-portant information (focus) from the less important informa¬tion (background) in a sentence by pronouncing the focal word with in¬creased prominence via changes in pitch and duration. In this talk, I will show that despite the stri¬king similarities in the prosodic expres¬sion of focus between Mandarin and West Germanic languages, children acquiring these languages differ in both the rate and the order in which they become adult-like in the use of pitch and duration.

18 April

Yang Zhaole (Leiden): “Mandarin and scalarity”

9 May

Han Mengru  (Utrecht): “Mothers’ use of prosodic prominence in word-learning contexts: evidence from Dutch and Mandarin infant-directed speech”


for comments and suggestions, please contact


CHILL! 7 March: Sun Jianqiang


Chinese Linguistics in Leiden


Spring 2018

All talks Wednesdays 15:15-16:30, Van Wijkplaats 2, room 006

7 March

Sun Jianqiang (Leiden)

“Chinese taboo characters and passive constructions as heuristic tools: Redating The Messiah Sutra序聽迷詩所經 and On One God一神論”

abstract: The Messiah Sutra and On One God are two ancient Chinese manuscripts that are taken as the earliest statements of the Christian faith in China. According to the conventional understanding, they were created by the first known Christian missionary Āluóběn 阿羅本 around the 640s. In this talk I will show that, relying on the name taboo tradition and the use of the bèi 被passive construction, one can make the case that the two texts were created most likely no earlier than the period of the late Tang and Five dynasties (800-960). These results have consequences for the traditional narrative of Christianity in pre-12th-century China.



28 March

Chen Aoju (Utrecht): “Same prominence, different developmental paths: Prosodic focus-marking in children acquiring Mandarin and West Germanic languages”


18 April

Yang Zhaole (Leiden): “Mandarin and scalarity”


9 May

Han Mengru  (Utrecht): “Mothers’ use of prosodic prominence in word-learning contexts: evidence from Dutch and Mandarin infant-directed speech”



for comments and suggestions, please contact


10 March: Manchu Foundation launches DEBTELIN 2

The Manchu Foundation would like to invite you to the free event ‘Debtelin 2’, during which the second edition of Debtelin will be presented.

DEBTELIN 2 explores the literature, art, culture and poetry of Manchu Archery. Translations and preparations are executed by Manchu students around the globe, supervised by Peter Dekker and Fresco Sam-Sin. Debtelin 2 comes with a poster and a website full of extra material.

There will be a Q&A with the main contributors of this edition: Fresco Sam-Sin, lecturer of Manchu and Manchu Studies at Leiden University, and Peter Dekker, specialist in Manchu Archery.
Peter will bring real antique Manchu weapons with him. Enough to see and talk about!

For more information and registering, or perhaps already buying your own copy, please go to

China Seminar 6 March: David Palmer: The Aporia of Chinese Volunteers

The Aporia of Chinese Volunteers: Moral Breakdown and Ethical Moments

David A. Palmer (The University of Hong Kong) and Rundong Ning (Yale University)

Following the Beijing Olympics and the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, the past decade has seen the large-scale development and institutionalization of volunteering in China, which has taken various forms ranging from projects sponsored by the Communist Party Youth League to serving in grassroots NGOs. Based on participant observation at a school for children of migrant workers in Beijing and on interviews with educational volunteers in a range of organizations, this paper will explore the dilemmas faced by volunteers when confronting social expectations about their motivations and goals in volunteering. Devoted volunteers distance themselves from the two dominant discourses of utilitarianism and revolutionary collectivism that frame volunteering in China today, preferring to use an idiom of self-expression, of a personal choice that warrants no justification. Drawing on Joel Robbins’ and Jared Zygon’s analysis of moral discourses in times of societal moral breakdown, the paper analyses how, faced with contradictory ethical demands, volunteers struggle to make sense of their own engagement.



Dr. David A. Palmer is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the department of Sociology and in the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong. His books include the award-winning Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China (Columbia University Press, 2007); The Religious Question in Modern China (University of Chicago Press, co-authored with Vincent Goossaert 2011; awarded the Levenson Book Prize of the Association for Asian Studies); and Dream Trippers: Global Daoism and the Predicament of Modern Spirituality (University of Chicago Press, co-authored with Elijah Siegler, 2017).


Location: Vrieshof 4/012

Time: 6 March 15:15-17:00 p.m.

China Seminar 28 Feb: Maghiel van Crevel: Misfit: the Poetry of Xu Lizhi


Maghiel van Crevel

Battlers poetry 打工诗歌 is writing by members of the Chinese precariat, specifically the underclass of domestic migrants who have flocked from the countryside to the cities in the hundreds of millions since the 1980s. The hardships and the social injustice of migrant worker life are among its most prominent themes: dehumanizing labor conditions, feelings of displacement, nostalgia, and existential alienation, a vulnerable status as non-citizens without the coveted urban household registration and steady work, and so on. Since the 2000s, the web and social media have given it tremendous exposure, trickling beyond China’s borders in recent years.

So what kind of writing is this, and what does it do? The poetry of Xu Lizhi 许立志, who has been a figurehead of the genre ever since his suicide in 2014, offers powerful material for tackling these questions—which have often been framed in an easy opposition of social significance (high) and literary value (low) that might just not be the whole story.

Bio: Maghiel van Crevel is professor of Chinese at Leiden University, and the author, editor, and translator of a dozen books. He has recently published Walk on the Wild Side: Snapshots of the Chinese Poetry Scene,” a long essay inspired by fieldwork in China in 2016-2017.


The time slot for the China Seminar is always 15.15-17.00. The titles and abstracts will be distributed in due time.

Location: Leiden University, Faculty of Humanities. The Lipsius building is located at Cleveringaplaats 1.


Dates Venue Presenter Affiliation
28 February 2018 LIPSIUS 235 Maghiel van Crevel Leiden University
7 March 2018 LIPSIUS 235 Griet Vankeerberghen McGill University
28 March 2018 LIPSIUS 235 Monica Klasing Chen Leiden University
11 April 2018 LIPSIUS 235 Carolien Rieffe Leiden University
18 April 2018 t.b.d. Yu-chih Lai Academia Sinica
2 May 2018 LIPSIUS 235 Lin Fan Leiden University
23 May 2018 LIPSIUS 235 Limin Teh Leiden University


Chinese language films at the IFFR 24 Jan-4 Feb

International Film Festival Rotterdam 24 January-4 February

List of Chinese language films:


feature length

The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful 血觀音, d: Yang Ya-che 楊雅喆, Taiwan 2017


Dragonfly Eyes 蜻蜓之眼, d: Xu Bing 徐冰, China 2017


Father to Son 范保德, d: Hsiao Ya-chuan 萧雅全, Taiwan 2018


Impermanence 云水, d: Zeng Zeng 曾赠, China 2018


Mrs. Fang 方秀英, d: Wang Bing 王兵,HK, France, Germany 2017


Silent Mist, d: Zhang Miaoyan 章淼焱, China/France 2017


Stammering Ballad 黄河尕谣, d: Zhang Nan 张楠, China 2018


The Widowed Witch 小寡妇成仙记, d: Cai Chengjie 蔡成杰, China 2018


Youth 芳华, d: Feng Xiaogang 冯小刚, China 2017


Extrastellar Evaluations III: Entropy: 25800 超星鑑定III:熵:25800 , d: Chen Yin-ju 陳瀅如,

Taiwan 2018

The film director’s website:


I Have Nothing to Say 媽媽的口供, d: Ying Liang 應亮, Taiwan/HK 2017


Re-Rupture 重新破裂, d: Hsu Che-Yu 許哲瑜, Taiwan 2017



Star Ferry, d: Simon Liu, HK/Japan 2017


The Walker, d: Su Hui-yu 蘇匯宇, Taiwan 2018


The Worldly Cave 凡洞, d: Zhou Tao 周滔, China 2017

(part of Ammodo Tiger Short Competition 3)


Zhou Tao 周滔: Time Keeper

consists of 5 shorts



China and/or Chinese language related in one way or another:

Agua Viva, d: Alexa Lim Haas, animated short, USA 20


Geomancer, d: Lawrence Lek, UK 2017



An Impossibly Small Object, d: David Verbeek, Taiwan/NL/Kroatië 2018


Liquid Landscape, d: Wang Nan, NL 2018

CHILL! 6 December HU Han: To Er or not to Er? The changing er in the speech community of Beijing


Chinese Linguistics in Leiden

Last presentation of this season!


note: the talk originally planned for 29 November has been cancelled.


6 December 2017 (Wednesday) 15:15-16:30, Wijkplaats 4/005

HU Han (Leiden):

“To Er or not no Er? The changing er in the speech community of Beijing”

abstract It is well known that social changes have an impact on language variation and change. Nowadays, Beijing witnesses radical social changes in the process of urbanization. Erhua, as a characteristic feature of Beijing Mandarin, is undergoing a change with the change of society. In this talk, I will present some preliminary findings related to the social stratification of erhua and people’s attitudes towards erhua.


CHANGE IN TIME/VENUE for China Seminar 7 December: James A. Benn

Please note: James A. Benn’s talk has been moved forward two hours: to 7 December (Thursday), 13.15-15.00. The new venue is LIPSIUS 308.

title: The Creation of a Tea Aesthetic in Tang Dynasty Verse

Abstract: The values associated with tea today— that it is natural, health- giving, detoxifying, spiritual, stimulating, refreshing, and so on— are not new concepts. We find them already in the poetry of the Tang dynasty (618-907). In tea poetry we can catch a glimpse of the cultural synergy created by literati, poets, and Buddhist monks gathering to share and construct new standards of connoisseurship and creativity, as well as to develop new themes and imagery. Surviving poems describe the color, aroma, and taste of the beverage; methods for preparing tea; the shape of teaware; settings for drinking tea; appreciation of the various aesthetic, medicinal, and psychoactive qualities of the beverage; as well as the world of tea growing, picking, and preparation.