Non SCA Events - Edinburgh

Edinburgh University seminars, 2016-2017

The 2016-2017 Asian Studies seminars programme at the University of Edinburgh starts on October 5. These are open and do not require advance booking

Wednesday October 5,  17:00-19:00, David Hume Tower, LG.09. University of Edinburgh

Paolo Santangelo (Emeritus Professor at Sapienza University of Rome)

Fragrance (xiang) and Its Cultural Meanings in Ming and Qing Literature

Abstract: Although olfaction is considered secondary among bodily senses, it has vital and important symbolic functions for human beings, especially within the cognitive, semiotic and ritual fields. This is why it has a profound impact on our mood, memory and emotions. From historical and anthropological perspectives, its constructive aspect is interesting for understanding some deep strata of a cultural and psychological life in certain social groups in a certain period. This talk will present some results of a textual analysis conducted mainly on literary works of Ming and Qing China. In particular, the polysemous term xiang 香 (fragrance) with compounds will be examined in connection with its main meanings of incense, perfume and beauty/love hints. Other short comments will be provided on other different kinds of odours.

Prof. Paolo Santangelo specializes in the social, intellectual and anthropological history of Ming-Qing China as well as private history and psychological trends. He also leads an international research project on the textual analysis of literary and non-literary sources in Chinese culture in order to collect and evaluate expressions concerning emotions and states of mind. He is the author of Sentimental Education in Chinese History. An Interdisciplinary Textual Research in Ming and Qing Sources (2003); Materials for an Anatomy of Personality in Late Imperial China (2010), among many others.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception. All welcome.

Wednesday October 12, 17:00-19:00, David Hume Tower, LG.11

John Yasuda, Assistant Professor at Indiana University

On Feeding the Masses: The Politics of Regulatory Failure in China