EACP - East Asian Culture in Perspective: Identity, Historical Consciousness, Modernity

Department of Languages and Cultures
Other institution(s) 
-> Académie du Midi
-> Belgian Institute for higher Chinese studies
-> Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations
-> European Institute for Asian Studies
-> European Association for Chinese Philosophy
-> European Association for Chinese Studies
-> Fudan University
-> In Flanders Fields Museum
-> Liaoning University
-> Nanjing University
-> National Chengchi University
-> National Taiwan University
-> Renmin University of China
-> Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences
-> School voor Comparatieve Filosofie Antwerpen
-> Shanghai University
-> Sichuan University
-> Zhejiang University
Research Region 
Research Language 
Research Methodology 




Call for Papers – International Conference on "Ming 命 as life-conditioning force and as malleable fate: Perspectives from old(er) age"

This interdisciplinary conference explores the nuanced dimensions of ming 命 (fate, command, allotment, life), a pivotal concept in Chinese thought, viewed through the lens of aging. The conference will delve into literary, philosophical, religious, anthropological, psychological and medical perspectives on ming and aging, life experience and maturity, highlighting how ming both as life-conditioning force and malleable fate interplays with the aging process. We seek to examine ming's impact on (experiences of) the process of aging through various forms of expression and practice, and in terms of ethical, spiritual and bodily self-cultivation associated with aging. We encourage submissions that among others explore themes such as literary reflections containing ming on later life, socio-psychological insights into older people's relationship with ming, philosophical treatises on ming and aging, and medical perspectives on aging and life-preservation. 

Submission Guidelines: Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words detailing your proposed presentation. Include the following information:

  • Name
  • Affiliation
  • Email
  • Professional address
  • Title of your talk

Submission Email: mieke.matthyssen@ugent.be

Submission Deadline: 20 June 2024

Notification of Acceptance: 15 July 2024



International Seminar Summer School in the Framework of the international "Consortium for Health Humanities, Arts, Reading & Medicine (CHARM)"

"Cross-cultural explorations into the role of fate, destiny and predestination as agents for health and wellbeing."

This three-day interdisciplinary summer school delves into the complex interplay between cultural "beliefs" in fate, destiny, and predestination and their impact on individual wellbeing. A particular focus will be on (comparative) Eastern and Western cultural contexts. 


Time: 16-18  September 2024

Venue: Museum dr.Guislain, Josef Guislainstraat 43B, 9000 Gent 

Workshop "EU - East Asia Relations in a Shifting Global Order"

In the framework of an FWO-MOST (Taiwan) agreement, the workshop 'EU - East Asia Relations in a Shifting Global Order' was organized on 12 and 13 September 2023 at venue: 'De Abt', Lange Kruisstraat 4, 9000 Gent.



September 12, 2023

  • Opening Remark (09:00-09:20)

Prof. Dr. Bart DESSEIN (Ghent University)

Representative of International Relation Office, Ghent University

Prof. Dr. I-Ling CHANG (Director of NSTC, Taipei Representative Office in the EU)

Prof. Dr. Chin-peng CHU (Monnet Chair and President, CAPS Taipei)


  • Session 1 Europe and the Cross-strait Interaction (09:20-10:50)

Chair: Sven BISCOP (Ghent University)

1. Sven BISCOP (Ghent University): Global geopolitics in shift: The role of the EU, China, and Taiwan.

2. Jasper ROCTUS (Ghent University): The European Union and cross-strait relations: Just what is “its” one-China policy?

3. Catherine LI (Monnet Chair, Soochow University): A closer look at the stagnant multilateral investment court system and 2022 ICSID Arbitration reform: Mapping concerns of East Asian countries and how to address them.


  • Session 2 Geopolitical and Security Issues (I) (11:10-12:40)

Chair: Chin-peng CHU (Monnet Chair and President, CAPS Taipei)

1. Chi-mei LUO (Monnet Chair, National Taipei University): Reflecting Zeitenwende or reconfirmation with convention: Germany’s Indo-Pacific policy and how far can it go?

2. Jieqiong DUAN (Ghent University): “EU-China security relations: A role-based perspective”

3. Yun-chen LAI (National Dong Hwa University): “EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: A chance for EU-Taiwan BIA?”


  • Session 3 Geopolitical and Security Issues (II) (14:00-16:00)

Chair: Nanae BALDAUFF (UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies, UNU-CRIS)

1. Nanae BALDAUFF (UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)): Examining Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific vision update: Reboot or continuity?

2. Yang LI (Ghent University): To what extent does the evolution of the Civil Service Recruitment Requirements In China's MFA represent a change in China's foreign policy after 2019.

3. Tian GAO (Ghent University): Ontological security and chaos: China's Postition in multilateral order in the era of Xi Jinping

4. Shiang-yuan CHU (Giessen University): EU’s strategic autonomy and EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy: Implications of new era EU-China relations.


  • Session 4 Culture and Normative Issues (16:20-17:50)

Chair: Bart DESSEIN (Ghent University)

1. Bart DESSEIN (Ghent University): A logic of relationship or a logic of appropriateness?

2. Yu-Zhou WANG (Ghent University): On the Tianxia (all-under-heaven) theory.

3. Yih-Jye HWANG (The Hague College Leiden University): Re-examining the Belt and Road Initiative under the framework of China-CEEC cooperation: A moral realist analysis.


September 13, 2023

  • Session 5 Economic Issues (09:00-10:30)

Chair: Chi-mei LO (Monnet Chair, National Taipei University)

1. Brandy MILLER (Ghent University): From diplomatic arbitration to economic sway: Examining EU-Taiwan relations in the context of US-China competition.

2. Huanyu ZHAO* (Ghent University) and Xiaoyu PU (University of Nevada): Decoupling, De-risking, and Reconnecting China: Epistemic Communities, Knowledge Production, and Reframing of EU Foreign Policy.

3. Ya-chi LIN* (Feng Chia University) and Kuo-Chun YEH (Monnet Chair, National Taiwan University): The impact of Russo-Ukrainian war on the EMU’s divergent risk: Empirics and policy implications.

4th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Philosophy (EACP): “Interpretation and Reinvention of Chinese Philosophy.” 

The conference brought together esteemed scholars, philosophers, and enthusiasts from around the world to share their ideas on the rich traditions of Chinese philosophy under new perspectives. It was a great opportunity for scholars and young researchers of the research group ‘East Asian Culture in Perspective: Identity, Historical Consciousness, Modernity’ and of the research group ‘Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies’ of the Department of Languages and Cultures'', Ghent University to engage in captivating keynote lectures and thought-provoking discussions, gaining insights that can be applied to modern life and personal growth. They contributed to 6 panels with 10 presentations on various themes. 


Chinese Philosophy in Mainland China and Taiwan 1 

Panel Convener and Chair: Jasper Roctus

  1. Jasper Roctus (Ghent University), “Ossified Educational Text or Proto-Communist Minimum Program? (Re)interpretations of Sun Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People (San min zhuyi 三民主義) by Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek (Late 1920s-Early 1970s”
  2. Li Yang (Ghent University), “The KMT’s Shifting Approach to the Outside World during the 1920s: Reinvention of Chinese Confucianism” 
  3. Wang Yu-Zhou (Ghent University), “(Re)inventions of China: Reviewing the Debate between Mind- nature Confucianism (xinxing ruxue 心性儒學) and Political Confucianism (zhengzhi ruxue 政治儒學 ) in the 21st Century”



Chinese Philosophy in Mainland China and Taiwan 2 

Panel Convener and Chair: Jasper Roctus 

  1. Zhao Huanyu (Ghent University), “Fifty shades of (In)Justice: The Evolution of Confucian Justice Theory and its Global Impact”
  2. Bart Dessein (Ghent University), “Reinterpreting Christianity, Nationalism, and Socialism with the aim to Reinvent Buddhism”


Visions of Modern China: Politics 

Ady Van den Stock (Ghent University), “Xiong Shili’s (1885-1968) Political Ontology in Maoist China”


Ming and Qing Neo-Confucianism: Expansion and Criticism 

  1. Nguyen Khuong Hong Ngoc (Ghent University), “Syncretic Philosophy in 18th Century Vietnam: The Chinese Neo-Confucian Influence on Le Quy Don’s Categorized Sayings from the Van Terrace (芸臺類語)”
  2. Zou Xiaozhou (Ghent University), “Things, Knowledge, and Oneness: Fang Yizhi’s Philosophical Tendency”


Chinese Buddhism Among Revivals and Rethinking 

Anna Sokolova (Ghent University), “The Revival of the Tiantai Doctrine in Tang China: Patriarchs, Polemics, Places of Practice”


Mediating Buddhism in Ancient and Modern China 

Chair: Bart Dessein (Ghent University) 

  1. Massimiliano Portoghese (Ghent University), “Propagating Buddhist Customs through the Classics. Discursive Strategies on Bodily Issues Controversies”
  2. Matteo Sgorbati (University of Perugia / Ghent University), “The Buddhist Understanding of Unconscious Cognition in Early Twentieth Century China” 

Workshop "Words and Interpretation: Comparative Approaches to Chinese Literature and History

Participants of the workshop "Words and Interpretation: Comparative Approaches to Chinese Literature and History” (May 31–June 1, 2023) organized in the framework of the Taiwan Chair Programme ((Ghent University, the University of Groningen, the Georg-August Universitat Göttingen / Georg-August Universitat Göttingen Stiftung Öffentliches Rechts, the University of Tartu, and the Department of International and Cross-Strait Education, Ministry of Education, Taiwan)

Programme DAY 1: 31 MAY

10.00 - 11.00:  

- Opening: Representative DICE

- Introductory lecture: “Beyond Words and Interpretation” (Bart Dessein, UGent)


Digital Humanities Round Table: Hou-leong Ho (East-Asian Department of Berlin State Library): “Introducing Open Access Resources for Sinology and Taiwanese Studies in Taiwan and CrossAsia”


  • Session 1: Culture and Language

Chair: Bart Dessein

  1. Táňa Dluhošová (Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague): “Quantitative study of Taiwanese political elites from the perspective of Taiwanese and Chinese sources”
  2. Peiying Lin (HKU, ONLINE): “Manchuria as a site of cultural exchange: The China-Taiwan literary encounters under Japanese rule”
  3. Mieke Matthyssen (UGent): “Dimensions of ming 命: changing roles of one’s moral mission (tianming天命) and one’s partly malleable fate (mingyun命运) in contemporary China”


  • Session 2: Gendering Chinese History

Chair: Mieke Matthyssen

  1. Jolan Yi (NTU, Taiwan): “Taiwanese widows went to court under Qing rule”
  2. Ping Yao (California State University): “Approaching women’s history and gender history: Mainland China, Taiwan, and beyond”
  3. Shuran Zhang (VUB): “The struggle and dilemmas of the Chinese women’s suffrage movement around the 1911 Revolution”



  • Session 3: Historical Interpretations: Late Qing and REPUBLICAN China

Chair:  Huanyu Zhao

  1. Alexandre Tsung-ming Chen (KU Leuven): “The Uprising in the Eastern Rehe in 1891: Different visions and changing interpretations in the historians’ circle of our time”
  2. Jasper Roctus (UGent): “How Sun Xiansheng became Guofu: The KMT’s deification of Sun Yat-sen during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945)”
  3. Yang Li (UGent): “Studies and gaps of existing literature on the evolution of diplomatic thought in the late Qing (1840-1914)”


  • Session 4:  Political Narratives in contemporary China and Taiwan

Chair: Jasper Roctus

  1. Yuzhou Wang (UGent): “Tracing ‘Chinese School of IR’: Reviewing the interpretations of tianxia in contemporary China and Taiwan” 
  2. Huanyu Zhao (UGent), Xiaochuan Sang (Shanghai University of Political Science and Law): “Strategic narratives on cross-Strait relations“  
  3. Nanae Baldauff (UNU-CRIS): “Japan's security relationship with China: hovering between political objectives, security concerns and Taiwan issue”




Workshop "Ghent-National Sun Yat-Sen University Dialogues in Global Sinology: Solidarity and Connections in Time of Crisis - 根特-中山國際漢學對話:危機時刻的聯結與凝聚"

30 May 2023


國立中山大學代表 NSYSU Representatives

  1. 莫加南 Mark MeConaghy. Department of Chinese Literature, Center for the Humanities
  2. 吳孟兼 Wu Mengqian, Department of Chinese Literature
  3. 謝筱娜 Severina Balabanova, Department of Chinese Literature


根特大學代表 Ghent University Representatives

  1. Bart Dessein, Professor, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
  2. Mieke Matthyssen, Doctor, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
  3. Yu-Zhou Wang, PhD Candidate, Ghent University, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy




The last decades of global experience have witnessed the domination of two apparently contradictory tendencies: on the one hand, a process of globalization and concentration of capital on a new, very abstract level far beyond immediate experience; on the other, the decentralization of production and politics accompanied by the emergence of a great number of new social formations, movements, parties and sub-cultures, aiming at rescuing human agency in the name of historical contingency. The uncertainty concerning the nature of modern life and society, engendered by this development, has arguably manifested itself most prominently in the postmodern and postcolonial critique of “grand narratives” and “Eurocentric” or “hegemonic” standpoints and conceptions of historical change, the emphasis on national identity, on cultural diversity, and so on.

The late-Qing statesman and reformer Zhang Zhidong 張之洞 (1837-1909) on board the Beijing-Hankou railway (image: Wikimedia Commons)

These developments are reflected also in paradigmatic shifts of the scholarly discourse about Asia, and they have changed especially the terrain of Asian studies to a degree that can impossibly be neglected or ignored. The research group, ‘East Asian Culture in Perspective: Identity – Historical Consciousness – Modernity’, has been established in order to cope with these above developments and to create a space where it is possible to engage with them in a profound and scholarly fashion. This includes the investigation of the cultural and historical roots of modern East Asian societies as well as the historical consciousness of modern societies. The research group also lays particular emphasis on the history of interaction and exchange within the Asian world.

The great Japanese Sinologist , essayist, and translator Takeuchi Yoshimi 竹内好 (1910-1977) at work in his study (Image: Wikimedia Commons).

In the context of our department, with its long-standing tradition of philology-based cultural and religious studies, the research group 'East Asian Culture in Perspective: Identity – Historical Consciousness – Modernity’ aims at theoritically enganging with established notions such as "history", "culture", "philosophy", "religion", "tradition", as well as the very conceptual divide between "tradition" and "modernity" by putting these notions into a historically determinate perspective. This exercise in reconceptualization is intended to overcome the specific conceptual shortcomings and empirical blind spots that have resulted from the abovementioned paradigmatic shifts in intellectual as well as broader social debates in and about the East-Asian world.

from left to right: Jiang Menglin 蔣夢麟 (1886-1964), Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 (1886-1940), Hu Shi 胡適 (1891-1962), and Li Dazhao 李大釗 (1889-1927) (image: Wikimedia Commons)


The research group 'East Asian Culture in Perspective: Identity - Historical Consciousness - Modernity' is part of the Department Languages and Cultures at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.


Non-Ugent Affiliations:

For more information about our partner institutions, please check the list below: 

Académie du Midi

Belgian Institute for higher Chinese studies

Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations 

European Association for Chinese Philosophy

European Association for Chinese Studies

European Institute for Asian Studies

Fudan University

In Flanders Fields Museum

Liaoning University

Nanjing University 

National Chengchi University 

National Taiwan University

Renmin University of China

Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences

School voor Comparatieve Filosofie Antwerpen

Shanghai University

Sichuan University

Zhejiang University



Affiliated Members

Former Members


Multiresearcher project

PhD research