Dr Zhou’s talk will examine the images of the ‘Jews’ as constructed in modern China. Her interest does not lie in the determination of the boundary between the real and fictional aspects of these images. Rather, it lies in the implications associated with the ‘Jew’ as an ‘other’, which remains a distant mirror in the construction of the ‘self’ amongst various social groups in modern China.

In modern China, representations of the ‘Jews’ and Judaism are very complex. Although these representations seem to correspond to images of the ‘Jews’ in Europe, it would be superficial to reduce them to purely ‘Western influence’. Representations of the ‘Jews’ have been endowed with indigenous meaning by modernizing elites since the late nineteenth-century. Unlike anti-Semites of Europe who used the language of Jews as the mark of their inferiority, in China the difference of the ‘Jews’ has been marked by their ‘non-Chineseness’. By creating the ‘Jews’ as a homogenous group, which acts as a constitutive outsider which embodies all the negative, as well as positive qualities, which were feared or desired by various social groups in China, theses Chinese could thus identify themselves as an integrated reference group: a homogenous ‘in-group’. They are thus able to project their own anxieties onto outsiders like the ‘Jews’. In this respect, it corresponds to a widespread fear, as well as need of an ‘other’, which can be found in many cultures and societies.

Dr Zhou Xun is Reader in History at the University of Essex. Currently she is a Fellow at the Wissenschaftkolleg zu Berlin (2021-22) and a Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Dr Zhou is one of Europe’s leading historians, media researchers, and analysts specialising on modern China. She has authored/co-authored/edited several ground-breaking books, i.e. Disease, Religion and Healing in Asia (2015), Social History of Drug Consumption in Modern China (2004) and Global History of Smoking (2004), History of Chinese Perceptions of Jews and Judaism (2001).

Dr Zhou is the author of two new books:  The People’s Health: Health Intervention and Delivery in Mao’s China, 1949-1983 (McGill-Queen University, 2020) and her co-authored book “I Know Who Caused COVID-19”: Pandemics and Xenophobia (Reaktion Books and University of Chicago Press, 2021).

Sprache: Englisch

Wann: 16.05.2022, 14:00 Uhr

Online: via Zoom. Den genauen Link erhalten Sie nach erfolgter Anmeldung.

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