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Transgressive Beasts: Animals Challenging Boundaries in Chinese History

8-9 août 2022
Online - Erlangen (Allemagne)


If there is one element that can be argued to unite all human civilisations throughout history, it is that humans have always relied on animals to survive. In China, as elsewhere, oxen were essential for ploughing, horses essential for transport, meat essential (to some extent) for nourishment. Animals, arguably, have shaped human histories, thinking, inventions, and societies just as much as humans have. One crucial aspect of human-animal relations in Chinese history that requires further exploration is that of boundaries. The human-animal relationship immediately crosses a species threshold and, as recent events have shown, this is not necessarily just a source of companionship but can also induce the exchange of disease and pathogens. Equally, humans re-define spaces like the home or frontiers based on the animals residing there, and even re-formulate what it is to be human in light of real and imagined interactions with animals. This workshop aims to explore the theme of animals and conceptual boundaries in China, and in doing so will pose three key questions: • How did animals challenge conceptualisations of boundaries in a Chinese context? • What reactions did these subversions or transgressions incite in human observers? • Are animals the essential criterion for humans to define boundaries? This workshop is jointly organised by the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge and the Chinese Studies Institute at Friedrich-Alexander-University. It will take place on the 8th and 9th of August 2022 from 2pm – 6pm UK Time on Zoom, involving panellists from a range of institutions and specialties.
Discipline scientifique : Sciences de l'Homme et Société - Histoire, Philosophie et Sociologie des sciences - Littératures

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