"China Days" in Retrospect
Humanities Organise "China Days" with Strong Participation from Sun Yat-sen Partner University
The last two days of November marked the university’s "China Days", which offered an ideal forum for a delegation of three professors and four postgraduates from the TU’s South Chinese partner, the Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU), with the School of Foreign Languages in Guangzhou and the School of International Studies in Zhuhai. These SYSU guests made important contributions to the general China presentations that took place on Thursday as well as the special sections on political and linguistic comparisons on Friday afternoon.
The event was introduced on Thursday by the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof. Stefan Garsztecki, and the leader of the Chinese delegation, Prof. Chang Chenguang. He was particularly interested in the reports, in which former TUC and current SYSU students described their intercultural experience in China and Germany, respectively. In her talk, Prof. Yang Jin strongly argued that the work of Chinese German literature specialists should not merely be perceived as an "Eastern view" (e.g. a Buddhist interpretation of Hugo von Hofmannsthal) but as a general contribution to the field in par with those of German colleagues. On Friday, Prof. Chang Chenguang portrayed SYSU's rise into the rankings of the best universities in the world, incl. the development of his own School of International Studies. Prof. Dai Fan from the English Department in the School of Foreign Languages gave two different presentations: In the first, she related her long personal experience in teaching creative literature; here she emphasised that creative writing is particularly interesting for foreign language learners as it helps not only to improve language and thinking skills but also to digest personal, intercultural encounters. The second dealt with her approach to writing the biography of M.A.K. Halliday, a world-famous grammarian with strong ties to SYSU, he had started his teaching in 1949 and was happy to supervise students in the Halliday Library until his death earlier this year.
The "China Days" also included a graduate symposium, where the two Chinese project leaders gave a more theoretical introduction (Prof. Chang Chenguang) and a more empirical case study (Dr. Liu Ming) and where four Chinese students presented their analyses of the controversial discourses on Tibet, on Hong Kong, on Chinese tourists world-wide, and on the Confucius Institutes (in particular in the USA). The TUC presentations focussed on functional perspectives of media discourses with Prof. Schmied discussing new discourses in academic writing, social media, and human-humanoid interaction. Two Nigerian Alexander-von-Humboldt guest professors to the TUC investigated the practices in the social media in Nigeria, and two Chemnitz PhD students analysed Trump’s speeches and the newspaper coverage of the Hong Kong – Macao/Zhuhai bridge, with 55 km the longest sea crossing in the world opened only a few weeks ago. The Chinese and German research teams plan to publish the result of this symposium in a comprehensive volume in the Chemnitz Research in English and Applied Linguistics (REAL) series.
On Saturday before having to rush back to their home university, the Chinese visitors finally had the chance to visit a regional cultural event, the famous "Bergparade" in Chemnitz.
(Author: Prof. Josef Schmied)