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Robert Oppenheim, Director WCH 4.134, Mailcode G9300, Austin, TX 78712 78712 • 512-471-5811

"Changing Chinese World Orientation: The Introduction of International Law in Late Qing China"

Fri, October 11, 2013 • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM • Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118


A talk by Dr. Rune Svarverud, University of Oslo

International law was introduced as a discipline, alongside with other areas of Western studies (xixue), in China with systematic translations of Western texts from the middle of the 19th century. Initially international law had little impact on China’s conduct in international affairs or on China’s general world orientation. In late 19th century, as a consequence of the first Sino-Japanese war, however, international law became instrumental in an intellectual reorientation of China’s position in the international community of states. This talk will analyse the processes of translation, reception, and adaptation of international law in late Qing China and attempt to show how this process contributed to a change in Chinese world orientation.


Dr. Rune Svarverud is a Professor and Deputy Head of Research in the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. 

Dr. Svarverud's main academic interests are the language, history and intellectual history of China. He has mainly been working on two separate periods in Chinese history. The first of these two is the early period of Chinese philosophy and thought during the pre-Qin period and the Han dynasty. The second of these periods is the time following the Opium War in 1840 and the subsequent encounters between Chinese and western culture, language and thought. Within these two periods, he has worked with the history of concepts, textual history, the history of Chinese philosophy and ideas, cultural encounters, modernity and individualism.



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