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13.05.2021 11:28 Alter: 198 days

Dynamics of knowledge transmission and linguistic transformation in Chinese textual cultures

Conference Announcement

Theme: Dynamics of knowledge transmission and linguistic
transformation in Chinese textual cultures
Type: International Workshop
Institution: Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Verona
  Research Center on East Asian Civilizations, CRCAO, Paris
Location: Online
Date: 10.–11.6.2021

The circulation and the dissemination of knowledge rely in essential
ways on forms of linguistics transformation, alteration and
manipulation. An apparently simple act such as adding a lexical gloss
next to a term can potentially reveal the complex interpretative and
translational processes that are needed in order for a specific
verbal structure to continue to operate as a meaningful sign in a new
setting. Furthermore, it can encapsulate the individual and
contextual factors and constraints that might affect the way those
processes are carried out.

Historically, practices of linguistic transformation and
manipulation, from the writing of glosses and paraphrases to the
elaboration of full-fledged commentaries and rewritings, have served
as important vehicles for the transmission and dissemination of
knowledge. They have contributed to the development of a rich body of
secondary literature in a wide range of new scholarly and popular
genres and textual formats, aimed at catering to different audiences
and for different needs.

In a similar way, nowadays, the ever-increasing specialization of
language use within large sectors of knowledge (e.g. in the fields of
law, medicine, science, technology etc.) is often counterbalanced by
efforts to make the language more readily understandable and to
improve textual comprehensibility, for example in the case of mass
communication texts. On the other hand, a certain opacity of language
still maintains an indisputable relevance in many situations (cf.
e.g. the presence of classical forms in the standard language). Such
asymmetries in the field of communication and usages have a pragmatic
relevance in terms of education, popularization, audience
empowerment, and they imply questions on aspects of language
variation and identity.

In engaging with the dynamics of knowledge transmission within
Chinese textual traditions, this workshop aims to address the
specific question of language use in a variety of textual practices
that can enable or hinder transfer processes. It invites theoretical
and descriptive contributions on all periods of Chinese textual


Thursday, June 10, 2021

12:45 - 13:00
Welcome & Opening - Barbara Bisetto & Rainier Lanselle

13:00 - 14:20
Classical commentaries & exegesis

The Tradition of Knowledge Transmission and Development of Commentary
Genres in Confucian Exegesis (Han – Early Tang periods)
Olga Bonch-Osmolovskaya, Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the
Russian Academy of Sciences

Commentaries as nexus of information: How transmitted classical texts
carried sets of knowledge along with hermeneutics
Marie Bizais-Lillig, Groupe d'études orientales, slaves et

14:20 - 15:40
Ming-Qing vernacular stories: linguistic & ideological strategies

Xingshi yan 型世言 (Stories to Rectify the World) as a Textual Space
for Knowledge Dissemination and Social Dialogue
Chiung-yun Liu, Academia Sinica, Institute of Chinese Literature and

Intralingual translation from literary Chinese to literary Chinese in
late Ming/early Qing vernacular stories Rainier Lanselle, Ecole
Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE-PSL), CRCAO

16:00 - 17:20
Guidebook knowledge & the vernacular

Vernacular Knowledge Transmission in Shi Chengjin's Guidebooks
Roland Altenburger - Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

Speaking Truth to Power? Vernacular Discourse Strategies in Shi
Chengjin's ‘Rustic Words'
Jessica Moyer - Smith College, Northampton

17:20 - 18:40
Lexicographic practices and approaches

Lexeme-based computational dating approaches for Literary Chinese
Tilman Schalmey, Trier University

Transformations in lexicographic practices - the gathering of
material on the vernacular language of Yue (Shaoxing)
Daniele Caccin, Università degli Studi di Verona

Friday, June 11, 2021

13:00 - 14:20
Variations on classical composition

Knowledge transmission and linguistic transformation between
eight-legged essay and literary creation
Weihang WU, PhD student, EPHE, CRCAO

Why Write It Again? Classical Language Rewritings of Preexisting Biji
and Xiaoshuo Stories in the Qing Dynasty
Aude Lucas, Centre de recherche sur les civilisations de l'Asie

14:20 - 15:40
The word of the master and the vernacular

Teasing the Buddha: Colloquial language in the transmission of Chan
dialogues in the Song (960-1276) Qin Yang, Australian National

Language use and modes of editing in Neo-Confucian texts: Luo
Rufang's (1515–1588) discourse records
Immanuel Spaar, Julius-Maximilians-Universitaet Wuerzburg

16:00 - 17:50
Popular genres and readership in Qing-Republican period

Reading zidishu in the early 19th century
Zhenzhen Lu, University of Pennsylvania

Fearing and Loving the Vernacular: late Qing Social Reform and the
Power of Words
Katherine Alexander, University of Colorado Boulder

Narrative elaborations (yanyi) of classical drama in the early
Republican period: aspects of language, culture and translation
Bisetto Barbara, University of Verona   

18:00 - 19:00
General Discussion

The workshop will be held online via Zoom. Access is free but
registration is required.

For registration, please visit:

The workshop is jointly organised by Barbara Bisetto (University of
Verona, Italy) and Rainier Lanselle (Ecole Pratique des Hautes
Etudes, CRCAO, Paris, France).

For inquiries, contact:

Conference website: