Interpreting China: Engendering Transnational Dialogues | 16-17 June 2022

Venue: HI Seminar Room H204


How other nations understand China is one of the most pressing issues of our times. We know much about how Chinese intellectuals interpreted western philosophies, technologies, and cultural practices to strengthen China at the turn of the twentieth century. Most of the ‘interpreting’ of China to western audiences from the thirteenth century to today has come from the pens of western travel-writers, missionaries, diplomats, merchants and journalists. Reversing the perspective, this workshop aims to shed light on the lives of Chinese interpreters who conveyed to non-Chinese knowledge of Chinese culture, language, politics, and society across Chinese history. We use ‘interpreting’ in its broadest conception, including translators, interpreters, western-educated intellectuals, elite and non-elite cultural brokers.

We aim to engender this exchange, by exploring the gendered power dynamics at play in the process of transfer. Methodological questions include: How can we understand the powerful role of translators and interpreters who are often hidden within the historical record? How is the act of translation itself gendered? What mediums (art, literature, film) did Chinese actors living in the west use to introduce western audiences to Chinese concepts of gender and how did they reimagine their own understanding of China in the process? What were the forums for exchange (schools, business meetings, international conferences) and how did gendered power dynamics operate in these spaces?

Organised by
The ChinaAcademic Network onGender (CHANGE) in collaboration with UCDAsia Pacific Research Network & UCDCenter forGender, Feminisms and Sexualities

With the generous support of
UCD Faculty ofArts and Humanities, UCD Humanities Institute (Transnationalising the Humanities Research Strand) and the UCD School of History

Organising Committee
Yanli Xie (UCD),Jennifer Bond (UCL), Coraline Jortay (Oxford), Chang Liu (CUHK, Shenzhen)



Day One: Thursday 16 June

15:00 – 15:45 Workshop registration - Welcome tea & coffee

15:45 – 16:00 Welcome - Dr. Jennifer Bond, University College London and Dr. Yanli Xie, University College Dublin

16:00 – 17:30 Keynote Address by Prof. Henrietta Harrison, University of Oxford
"Interpreting and Masculinity in early British interactions with China"

17:30 – 18:30 Drinks Reception

19:00 Workshop Dinner

Day Two: Friday 17 June

09:00 - 10:30 Panel 1: Gender and the Politics of Interpreting China

Chair: Prof. Mary Gallagher, University College Dublin
Discussant: Dr. Julia Schneider, University College Cork

Dr. Isabella Jackson, Trinity College Dublin: "Translating Chinese ‘slave-girls’ (婢女) for international audiences in the Republican period (1912-49)"
Dr. Jennifer Bond, University College London: "Representing New Chinese Womanhood to the World: Chinese Students as Cultural Ambasadors in Great Britian and the United States (1909-1929)"

10:30 - 11:00 Morning Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:30 Panel 2: Projecting China:Gender,Visuality and Sexuality

Chair: Prof. Anne Mulhall, University College Dublin
Discussant: Dr. Aglaia De Angeli, Queen's University, Belfast

Dr. Yushu Geng, Trinity College Dublin:m "How ‘Yin’ Travelled: Chinese Obscene Publications in Colonial Singapore, 1920s-1930s"
Dr. Kailing Xie, University of Birmingham: "Gendering Contemporary China through the Li Zi Qi phenomen

Dr. Ting Guo, University of Exeter: "The Stories Untold: Lai Lai Ballroom and Come Dance with Me(2019)"

12:30 - 14:00 Lunch

14:00 - 15:30 Panel 3: GenderingTransnational Encounters

Chair: Dr. Fangzhe Qiu, University College Dublin
Discussant: Prof. Gregory Lee, University of St Andrews

Dr. Yanli Xie, University College Dublin: "Presenting China through cookbooks: three Chinese women’s efforts of negotiating cultural and gender space for Chinese cuisine"
Dr. Coraline Jortay, University of Oxford: "Of Gender, Politics, and Literature: Chen Xuezhao as an Interpreter"
Prof. Nicoletta Pesaro, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia: "Creating and mediating Chinese poetry: Ming Di’s “double shadows”

15:30 - 16:00 Afternoon Coffee Break

16:00 - 17:00 Roundtable discussion and closing remarks