Conference: Sinicizing the Early Modern World – Histories and Interpretations Beyond Euro-Diffusionism

15 & 16 June 2023  |  International Conference  |  Fürstenzimmer, Schloss Hohentübingen

Scholars have deeply researched Europe’s historical impacts upon China. A distinguished and decades-old - but still rather limited - field has undertaken research in the other direction, noting that China has also influenced its neighbors, Europe, and the wider world in turn. Nonetheless, this perspective remains dispersed, eclectic, and little-theorized. This gathering’s questions will extend in two directions: the historicization and theorization of what one might call ‘early modern Sinicization.’

Unearthing the many types of ‘reverse diffusionism’ in which Chinese practices spread to the world has rich explanatory promise, and may even be essential in achieving a more balanced understanding of causation in global history. On the one hand, this conference invites scholarship which explores how regions close and far from China transformed, adapted to, and struggled against Sinicization in the so-called early modern period, very roughly defined here as 1400–1800. On the other hand, this conference also invites reflections on how to characterize ‘Sinicization’ itself. We also invite scholarship which poses major methodological, sociological, and even ethical questions about Sinicization, including:

  • Which sociological categories should we use to describe these many tendencies and processes (‘creolization,’ ‘interculturation,’ ‘hybridization,’ ‘entanglement,’ ‘impact-response,’ ‘hegemony,’ ‘co-colonization,’ the ‘China-centered approach,’ etc.)?
  • How to navigate the pratfalls of accidental Eurocentrism, uncritical Sinophilia, and essentialization of European and East Asian societies?
  • How to include the stories of smaller polities, indigenous peoples, dynamic and creative individuals, and others caught between Europeanization, Sinicization, and other powerful social currents?


Download: Conference Programme

Registration: sinicizationconferencespam prevention@gmail.com 



Prof. Dr. Renate Dürr
University of Tübingen
CRC 923 "Threatened Order: Societies under Stress"
renate.duerrspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

PD Dr. Philip Hahn
Saarland University
CRC 923 "Threatened Order: Societies under Stress"
philip.hahnspam prevention@uni-saarland.de

Dr. Adrian Masters
University of Trier
adrianmmastersspam prevention@gmail.com

Dr. Rachel Zhang
University of Tübingen
CRC 923 "Threatened Order: Societies under Stress
rachel-junlei.zhangspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de



Thorsten Zachary
University of Tübingen
CRC 923 "Threatened Order: Societies under Stress"
Public Relations & Science Communication
+49 7071 29-75095
thorsten.zacharyspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de