Programme

Wei Jin Nanbei period (220 – 589 AD) is generally regarded as one of the most fascinating phases in Chinese history, however the importance of this era has still been widely neglected by European Sinology. Hence, the summer school aims to raise new awareness about the unique cultural and theoretical achievements of this era to European students of Chinese studies. The central approach of the summer school will be rooted in the critical evaluation of problems, linked to the interaction of ideas, especially in the field of literature, art and philosophy.

In China’s official historiography, the Wei Jin Nanbei period was mainly presented as a period of political and economic instability. This period has been widely shown as an era of volatility, which spanned over 300 years. Official Chinese historiography was – and still is – determined by striving for preserving social and political unity. In the official Chinese world view, harmony and progress could only be achieved within a great, all-embracing, unified state. Since the period in question was a period of many different small states, such historical ideology could not present it as an era of any relevant innovations. It was a period of transition, an “abnormal” period located somewhere in-between two normal stages of development.

Similar to the prevailing ideologies of the contemporary globalized world, traditional Chinese historiography could never admit the fact that periods of transition, periods of the blossoming of hundreds of different flowers, can be extraordinarily fruitful.  This, of course, is also the reason for the fact that the Wei Jin Nanbei period has still not been subject to exhaustive research.  Therefore, it offers us many new possibilities to uncover essential shifts and great enrichments in all fields of politics, arts, philosophy and culture. Recent interdisciplinary research namely shows that this period represented one of the most interesting epochs in Chinese history, bringing into life innumerous political, economic, cultural and theoretical achievements, most relevant for the further development of Chinese culture and society.