Sinologie in Würzburg

Public lecture: Dr. Paul Fahr (RUB Bochum), "Metaphors of the State in Imperial China" (06.12.)


The Department of Sinology welcomes all students as well as everybody who is interested to the upcoming public lecture by Dr. Paul Fahr (RUB Bochum) on "Metaphors of the State in Imperial China". The lecture will be held on December 6th (18:00 st) in room 17 (Philosophiegebäude).


When people talk about something as abstract as the state, they often use a metaphor. That is, they compare the state to some concrete object such as a ship or a human body. Many of these metaphors were developed independently by different cultures, for example in Europe or China. However, the implications of one and the same metaphor can be different in different places: To what extent does the state resemble a human body? More importantly, what kind of action does this metaphor require of rulers and their subjects? In other words: What did the metaphor do for the political community? Answers to these questions may vary. The talk will address such questions with regard to the Chinese empire. It will discuss (1) what can be reasonably called a “state” at that time, (2) why it was necessary to address the state metaphorically at all, and (3) which metaphors of the state competed with each other.