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Date & Time

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
5:00 PM






Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Rivi Handler-Spitz, Pauline C. Lee and Haun Saussy will discuss THE OBJECTIONABLE LI ZHI: FICTION, CRITICISM, AND DISSENT IN LATE MING CHINA. They will be joined by Ann Waltner.
Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies
Virtual event
About the book: Iconoclastic scholar Li Zhi (1527–1602) was a central figure in the cultural world of the late Ming dynasty. His provocative and controversial words and actions shaped print culture, literary practice, attitudes toward gender, and perspectives on Buddhism and the afterlife. His incisive remarks, along with the emotional intensity and rhetorical power with which he delivered them, made him an icon of his cultural moment and an emblem of early modern Chinese intellectual dissent. In this volume, leading China scholars demonstrate the interrelatedness of seemingly discrete aspects of Li Zhi’s thought and emphasize his far-reaching impact on his contemporaries and successors. In doing so, they challenge the myth that there was no tradition of dissidence in premodern China.
About Rivi Handler-Spitz: Rivi Handler-Spitz studies and teaches Chinese literature and intellectual history as well as comparative literature. Her book SYMPTOMS OF AN UNRULY AGE: LI ZHI AND CULTURES OF EARLY MODERNITY (University of Washington Press, 2017) compares writings by the late Ming dynasty radical intellectual Li Zhi to works by several of his best-known European contemporaries including Shakespeare, Montaigne, and Cervantes. Although these authors wrote independently on opposite ends of Eurasia, their works grapple with remarkably similar questions, among them how to differentiate between truth and falsehood, genuine articles and fakes. By examining the historical context in which these questions arose, as well as the culturally specific responses they generated, SYMPTOMS OF AN UNRULY AGE highlights correspondences between early modern Chinese and European literature.

About Pauline C. Lee: Pauline C. Lee teaches East Asian religions and philosophy with courses in Chinese thought, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, East Asian women and feminisms, Chinese Civilization, world religions, and children’s studies.

About Haun Saussy: Haun Saussy holds multiple appointments in Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, and Committee on Social Thought; Core Faculty, Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge.

About the interlocutor: Dr. Ann Waltner is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities’ College of Liberal Arts, where she specializes in Chinese history. Waltner formerly served as founding director of the University’s Institute for Advanced Study, and has served as editor of the Journal of Asian Studies. She has published widely in both Chinese history and world history. Most recently, she has completed an open access online course on Dream of the Red Chamber in conjunction with the San Francisco Opera.