Monthly Archives: February 2018

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