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Hume Memorial Lecture

WagnerOn January 25, the Council on East Asian Studies welcomed world-renowned sinologist Rudolf G. Wagner to campus to deliver the 51st Annual Edward H. Hume Memorial Lecture. Professor Wagner is Senior Professor for Chinese Studies at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and Co-Director of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows.”

During his lecture entitled “Concepts on the Move Across Languages: Words, Metaphors, and Images for the Chinese State, 1800-1920,” Wagner discussed the perceptions of China by European powers and the United States in the 19th century through the examination of cartoon images and captions across different languages. Even though languages varied with the imagery presented, the audience was able to see how common words and metaphors were utilized transnationally to describe China as an organism that was in deep slumber, lacking agency as the so-called “sick man of the Far East.” Wagner argued that the imagery also showcased the emerging development and struggles in defining national identity among Chinese intellectuals.

This annual lecture in honor of Dr. Edward H. Hume is made possible by the generosity of his family and many friends. Dr. Hume devoted much of his long and vigorous life to working in China and elsewhere in the cause of health care and medical training. He graduated from Yale College in 1897, and received his medical degree four years later from Johns Hopkins University.