Announcing the Princeton-Wenyan China Lecture Series

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Co-sponsored by Peking University’s Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, the annual lecture will launch during the 2024 Beijing International Book Fair  

Princeton University Press (PUP) is delighted to announce the Princeton-Wenyan China Lecture Series. A collaboration between PUP and Peking University’s Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS), the annual lecture will be given by leading Chinese scholars, with an ensuing book published in English by PUP. 

The China Lecture Series will be the first of its kind, with joint sponsorship by an American university press and Chinese university and will be guided by the mission driven work of both PUP and the IHSS – an interdisciplinary research center that cultivates an ethos of “inquiring and inspiring,” while protecting independent inquiry and encouraging international conversations. 

The series is guided by a commitment to fostering cross-cultural exchange and understanding by bringing the work of leading Chinese scholars to global audiences through publication as scholarly, but accessible, English-language books.  

The inaugural China lecture will be delivered on June 22, during the Beijing International Book Fair, by  Mingke Wang, a renowned historical anthropologist, visiting chair professor of history at Peking University, and Academician of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. Professor Wang will share a wide-ranging inquiry into the history and meaning of Chinese identity, from the warring states period to the present day. Tracing the concept of “Huaxia”—Chinese ethnic and cultural identity—Wang will show how ethnic contest and incorporation have shifted the boundaries between insiders and outsiders, core and periphery, over millennia. 

Lingxi Li, Managing Director of PUP China, notes: “PUP China advances the Press’s global scholarly mission in China and serves to enhance the dialogue between Chinese academics and those in the West. We are proud to announce the academic partnership with the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Peking University to launch the Princeton-Wenyan China Lecture Series as a collaborative endeavor to help Chinese scholarship of the highest caliber find an international audience. We are thrilled to host the inaugural lecture in 2024, featuring Professor Mingke Wang and his groundbreaking research on Chinese ethnic groups and cultural identity. We look forward to sharing this momentous occasion with our partners and colleagues, as we collectively celebrate the advancement of global scholarly conversation and cross-cultural understanding.” 

Lihua Yang, Professor of Chinese philosophy and Director of IHSS, adds: “As a platform for Peking University’s humanities and social sciences subjects to explore academic frontiers and promote international exchange, Peking University Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) has always been committed to inheriting and communicating civilization through thinking and scholarship. With the Princeton-Wenyan China Lecture Series, we hope to collaborate with Princeton University Press in exploring a new way of introducing outstanding Chinese humanities and social sciences scholars and their original and influential ideas to the world. Today, prejudices and misconceptions are eroding consensus. We hope that this series will enable readers to open their minds and engage in dialogues and cross-cultural understanding between China and the rest of the world.” 

The China Lectures will draw from a diversity of academic disciplines and welcome interdisciplinarity, with an emphasis on the humanities and social sciences. Lecturer candidates will be identified and invited by PUP staff and members of the Press’ China Advisory Board. This exciting endeavor marks only the latest chapter of PUP’s engagement with the Chinese academic and higher education sectors.  

Since opening an office in Beijing in 2017, the Press has sustained active engagement across the nation’s academic ecosystem. Fostered by a spirit of cross-cultural learning and collaboration, and sustained daily by a phenomenal staff of seven, PUP has built relationships with Chinese retailers, scholarly institutions, libraries, and scholars. In 2022 the Press announced it was beginning exclusive representation in China for the University of Chicago Press. 

As PUP’s engagement with China continues to grow and evolve, we are honored to have the opportunity to celebrate the richness of Chinese intellectual inquiry by ushering vital new books and ideas into global circulation.