Monday 23 June, 2–3.30pm, Room 105, 24 Gordon Square, UCL
The debate will bring together established academics and UCL graduate students to explore contemporary Taiwan-China relations in the light of the recent Sunflower protest movement (太阳花学运).
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Self-cultivation and the formation of identity in Early Modern China
|My research concerns the transmission and adoption of forms of Self-Cultivation and lifestyle regimen (YangSheng) in Ming and Qing China. The field of YangSheng and its conscious self cultivation is located at the nexus of the worlds of medicine, religion and ordinary daily life where individuals seek to negotiate their inner lives with the outer world of shared common reality. YangSheng activities range from choral singing and calligraphy to medicinal foods, meditation and martial arts. Anything, in short, which makes the practitioner feel better.|
Though functioning at many different level of intention, the concepts which underpin this, most notably the idea of the manipulation Qi, are widely accepted in China as given reality. But at the same time the practice is and always has been continuously reframed by a particular hegemonic discourse. Currently this largely revolves around the nature of "traditional Chinese culture" and just what it means to be Chinese.
My study is an inquiry into the reasons for the adoption of practice, the methods adopted, their adaptation from historical sources and the conditions which permit or hinder this, and the outcomes in terms of the effects on the individual's health, well-being, self image and on-going relationship with society at large. Particular areas of interest at the moment are the information contained in novels, stories and lifestyle guides or daily life encyclopaedias (RiYongLeiShu) of these era. I am further interested in the claims and uses made for the developing Martial Arts techniques of the 19 th and early 20 th centuries. My work has a strong multi-disciplinary approach, in particular combining anthropological approaches and insights, in order to illuminate texts that are often wilfully, or otherwise, obscure.
Page last modified on 16 apr 11 22:28 by Helen Matthews