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Aspirations: China and the Global South

Critical Chinese Humanities Colloquium

dateOctober 12, 2023 timeThursday, 6:00pm EDT location Uris Hall, Columbia UniversityCalder Lounge
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Institute for Comparative Literature and Society
  • East Asia Institute
  • Weatherhead East Asian Institute
  • Critical Chinese Humanities Colloquium in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.

Wang Hui’s book The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought, newly available in English translation, provides a timely engagement with the place of deep history in contemporary thought. He is joined by Mahmood Mamdani and Michael G. Hill to discuss a set of questions raised in his book and to reflect on their implications for rethinking the ground of universalism, the Global South, and the emerging world order.

Aspirations: China and the Global South is the inaugural event of the Critical Chinese Humanities Colloquium.


Wang Hui is a professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he currently lives. He studied at Yangzhou University, Nanjing University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He has also been a visiting professor at NYU and other universities in the U.S. In 1989, he participated in the Tiananmen Square Protests and was subsequently sent to a poor inland province for compulsory "re-education" as punishment for his participation.

Mahmood Mamdani
is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia Univesrity. He was also a professor and executive director of Makerere Institute of Social Research (2010-2022) in Kampala, where he established an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Social Studies. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1974 and specializes in the study of colonialism, anti-colonialism, and decolonization. His works explore the intersection between politics and culture, a comparative study of colonialism since 1452, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, the Cold War and the War on Terror, the history and theory of human rights, and the politics of knowledge production.

Michael Hill is an Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at William & Mary. His research and teaching interests include the literary and intellectual history of China in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the history of translation, and cultural relations between China and the Middle East. He also contributes regularly as a translator. Prior to his arrival at William & Mary, Prof. Hill served as director of the Center for Asian Studies at the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies at the University of South Carolina.


Lydia Liu is the Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities and former Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Her research centers on modern China, cross-cultural exchange, and global transformation in modern history, with a focus on the movement of words, theories, and artifacts across national boundaries and on the evolution of writing, textuality, and media technology. Professor Liu teaches courses on modern Chinese literature and culture in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and offers graduate courses on comparative literature, critical translation theory, and digital media at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.