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Yan Haiping: Building a bridge of Chinese and Western studies

Author  :  Chen Xiangjing     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2016-04-18


Yan Haiping serves as chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and dean of the Research Institute of World Literature and Culture at Tsinghua University.

After Yan Haiping graduated from the Department of Chinese at Fudan University in 1982, she attended Cornell University, where she studied for master’s and doctoral degrees on modern European literature, drama, intellectual history and critical philosophy. Then, for a long time, she taught in American universities and served as a tenured professor in the Ivy League. In recent years, she has come back to China as an international expert through the Thousand Talents program. She has worked in Tsinghua University and explored the construction of new disciplines of humanities since 2014.

Yan supports the tradition of integrating Chinese and Western knowledge and connecting the present with the past. After Yan joined the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Tsinghua University, she began to propose a series of reform plans for comprehensively improving all disciplines with other teachers and students.

After 20 years of teaching in the US, Yan remains concerned about Chinese issues, which she views from a cross-cultural perspective. She has a systematic thought approach to the limitations and prejudices of American studies on China. She points out that there are roots of this in Americans’ cognitive system which traces its origins from Europe, the influence of Cold War ideology and research methods that have the stamp of European and American centralism. She remains concerned about how to understand and describe China in the international framework, and how to make “cultural China” become an indispensable part of the world. In her research and classes on modern European and American studies, she always attempts to find a new research path.

Editor: Yu Hui

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