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Displaying Modernity: Dialogue Between Homi Bhabha and Tu Weiming

Peking University, Beijing, June 9, 2010: An intellectual dialogue between Prof. Homi Bhabha, Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University, and Prof. Tu Weiming, Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities at Peking University, was held in Yingjie Overseas Exchange Center of PKU recently.


Prof. Homi Bhabha is a renowned representative theorist of post-colonialism and interdisciplinary researcher, baring tremendous academic reputation in the field of colonial and post-colonial theory, cultural change and power, and cosmopolitism study. Prof. Tu Weiming is Harvard Yenching Professor of Chinese history and philosophy and of Confucian studies. He has long been committed to the interpretation of the Confucian classics, employing a multicultural perspective in examining the Confucian tradition and seeking creative transformation of traditions so as to regenerate traditional Chinese culture. His remarkable contribution has made a broad and far-reaching impact to thinkers.


The dialogue organized by the Office of International Relations, Beijing Forum, and the PKU Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities, was moderated by Prof. Wu Zhipan, Executive Vice President of Peking University. The dialogue “Displaying Modernity” was aimed for a more profound reflection on the basic issues in the modern world, as well as for further communication and exchanges between the Indian and Chinese experience in the globalization and modernization context.


In the dialogues, Prof. Homi Bhabha analyzed the significant role of that discrete communities and minority groups play in presenting and maintaining cultural diversity, emphasizing the importance of the principles of tolerance in cultural translation. Echoingly, Prof. Tu Weiming spoke about the long history of Chinese multi-ethnic harmony, putting forward the necessity and urgency of global conversations among the core values and traditions of different cultures. They have also discussed in depth about the mutual dilemma of Chinese and India traditional cultures, which has been encountered by both countries in the process of globalization and modernisation. The dialogue concluded with the address of the prospects of further cultural exchanges between India and China.


The two professors also devoted time in answering questions from the audience. And the dialogue rolled down its curtains with an inspiring summarizing speech given by moderator Prof. Wu Zhipan.


This dialogue represented the joint efforts of 2010 Beijing Forum, PKU Office of International Relations, and the PKU Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities. The event attracted the active participation of a room-full of scholars from Peking University and other universities as well as the students. In the future, Beijing Forum will continue to make full use of the academic strengths of Peking University and commit itself to enriching the academic activities of Beijing Forum and expanding the network of academic and its influence, by inviting world renowned scholars and holding lectures and seminars on relevant themes of the forum.


Since its inception in 2004, Beijing Forum has put consistent endeavours in promoting the communication and development of humanities and social sciences researches around the world in order to contribute to the development and prosperity of humankind. From its eastern cultures’ standpoint, Beijing Forum strives for establishing the open and free platform for the communication and dialogue among civilizations and ideological structures, aiming at gathering global wisdom and achieving the ultimate goal of "civilization harmony and common prosperity."



Translated by: LI Xiaomeng

Edited by: Jennifer Yan

Source: PKU News (Chinese)