Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pattberg Cameo on Journey of Civilization, CCTV4

Journey of Civilization 文明之旅 wenming zhi lv) is a weekly cultural program on CCTV4, moderated by famed TV anchor 刘芳菲 LIU Fangfei, that features various aspects of cultural China. It is broadcast in Chinese language, but nicely subtitled in English, and thus very popular with foreigners in China too. [Click here to watch]. [BACK TO MAIN].


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Talking Jiangnan-Style: Thorsten Pattberg, Mariatu Kargbo, Nick Angiers (CNTV, China)

BEIJING - We had a great time on Liu Fangfei's show 'Journey of Civilization (文明之旅)' broadcast on CCTV-4. Guest of honor was Zhang Yongyi, historian of the Jiangnan region around the Yangtze River. In the picture: Thorsten Pattberg (裴德思), scholar at Peking University; Miss worldwinner, singer and artist Mariatu Kargbo (玛丽亚), and the very talented Nick Angiers (安仁良), program host and 'xiangsheng' performer. [This episode will be broadcasted on Monday 27, 2013, at 22:00.] [WATCH THIS EPISODE]. [BACK TO MAIN].

Michael Witzel with Thorsten Pattberg, Tokyo 2013

Professor Michael Witzel invited me to Harvard University back in 2010 so that I could use collections and library resources of the earliest European missionaries in China dating back to 1649. Although there was little funding for such an original project, it nevertheless proved to be very successful, cumulating into my works on translation history and, ultimately, the re-emergence of the shengren. See China Daily, Japan Times. The list goes on. [photo: Tokyo, May 24, 2013].

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Historiographical Institute (HI) The University of Tokyo

The Historiographical Institute (HI) The University of Tokyo – Top address for academic research on historical sources concerning Japan.
I was a Foreign Researcher here for two semesters in 2008/09 and have met great people and made wonderful friendships. The IH promotes international exchange and welcomes scholars from all over the world. Its current director is Ms KURUSHIMA Noriko. The HI doesn't offer stipends, but sometimes the government does [JSPS and Monbukagakusho].

The biggest obstacle for foreigners in Tokyo is the high cost of rent and living. I never quite had enough funding, those were "tough times;" so be prepared and plan ahead. [BACK TO MAIN].

Friday, May 24, 2013

T. Pattberg meets President of The Toho Gakkai

The Toho Gakkai (The Institute of Eastern Culture), founded in 1947, is a NGO that promotes Asian studies in Japan. It's current President is KOZEN Hiroshi. [May 24, 2013].
The Institute promotes cooperation among scholars of different nations. It currently has 1,464 members (March 2013). [BACK TO MAIN].

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nights In Osaka

TOKYO - The German East Asiatic Society (OAG) in Tokyo, of which I was a board member once, featured this exhibition by artist and visionary Joe Brockerhoff. [Check out his gallery].

The large backdrop in the above photo is entitled 'Nights in Osaka' during Japan's boom years in the 70' and 80.' Osaka has been for centuries the center for merchants and entertainment. There are elements of gamble, pomp, excess, yakuza, great wealth, but also exploitation, mixed with surreal architectures, transports, and bizarre city dwellers. Joe Brockerhoff's other paintings showed Japanese kami and oni (ghosts and demons), shogun and samurai spirits occupying a futuristic metropolis (Tokyo?). [Check out Joe's website here]. The Japanese boom years bear similarities, I think, to rapidly mechanizing Chinese megacities today. Good luck, Joe! [BACK TO MAIN]

The German East Asiatic Society (OAG) with seat in Minato-ku, Tokyo, is the oldest German society in East-Asia, dating back to 1873 and the German Empire. [About the OAG].

Monday, May 13, 2013


Deutungshoheit is a German word meaning "having the sovereignty over the definition of thought," sometimes also called "the prerogative of final explanation." The German philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel, for example, could easily promote 'The End of All Things' or 'The End of History' simply because they had written the history of all the world's people in German language, thus felt they owned world history. Seeing it this way, European dominance over the history of thought is a language trick. See two articles in Asia Times: Lost in translation I and Lost in translation II. [BACK TO MAIN]


End Translation, instead adopt foreign key terminologies, and help to create a truly global language. [BACK TO MAIN].


What is 'Language Imperialism?'

Other than in linguistic imperialism, in which one language replaces another, in language imperialism certain terminologies are translated into familiar vocabulary of one's own language tradition. For example, the early European missionaries translated key words in the Confucian classics into biblical taxonomy, and claimed that China could easily become a Christian nation this way. [BACK TO MAIN]

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Shanghai memories

Good memories from Shanghai in summer 2005. Had spent the academic years 2003/04 at Fudan University and 2004/05 at Peking University. Was about to return to Edinburgh in late August 2005. Experienced difficult times. Lost about 10 kg that year. But grateful and happy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pattberg: Invitation to Iran

Video Footage from Iran tour in December 2012 re-emerged. Video at the CISSC Website Here. Visited five cultural centers and held talks at four key universities, in Tehran, Qom, Zahedan, and Kermanshah.
 "All cultures should compete for their terminologies like they compete for everything else."
 "We need a global language in order to communicate with each other; but that global language is not today's English. The future global language will have to adapt many more non-European concepts and vocabularies, words from China, Japan, India, and Iran."
"Most of the so-called dialogue among civilizations is in English language. What can foreign cultures do to contribute to global language?"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thorsten Pattberg and Iranian Gholamreza Aavani in Beijing

"For the perfect mystic, a person that made this spiritual journey, God is never absent, never has been absent, once he reached there."Gholamreza Aavani is a leading Islamic philosopher, historian of the Persian intellectual tradition, and the former head of the Iranian Academy for Philosophy.
Prof. Aavani accepted the invitation of Tu Weiming to conduct research and teaching at PKU during spring term 2013. (IAHS, Peking University, April 3, 2013).