The Principle of Hope Opening Keynote Speech: “The Future” in Chinese Early Modern Thought (1840s-1940s）
Being in an era when nothing is certain except uncertainty, and being in a society that is constantly changing and longing for the exploration of the way like China, it becomes especially important and urgent to review and renew our imagination and thinking about the future.
While review requires reliable reference, renewal depends on the inspiration of spiritual resources we have. The thinking and descriptions of the “future” by several generations of early modern Chinese culture practitioners/intellectuals (1840s-1940s) are undoubtedly the most important spiritual resources today.
After an extremely cursory overview of the general lineage of Chinese thinkers/reformers who imagined and thought about the “future” during this period, this lecture will then provide a brief introduction to some of the key issues, in anticipation of an in-depth discussion with the audience.
Wang Xiaoming was born in 1955 in Shanghai. He is currently a professor in Program in Cultural Studies / Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Shanghai University and the director of the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies there. His recent single-volume books in Chinese include Cross Stations (Taipei, 2013),Close Look and Far View (Shanghai, 2014), and The Life That Cannot Be Faced Straight – A Biography of Lu Xun (revised edition, Beijing, 2021). Currently, he is mainly engaged in contemporary cultural analysis and research on early modern Chinese thought.