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The College of Arts Sciences

Sangren Named Hu Shih Distinguished Lecturer

November 3, 2017

P. Steven Sangren, Professor of Anthropology, was named the 2017-2018 Hu Shih Distinguished Professor of China Studies by Cornell's East Asia Program (EAP).  Hu Shih was a Chinese philosopher, essayist and diplomat who received his undergraduate from Cornell University in the early 1900's.  

On the 100th anniversary of the world-changing philosopher’s graduation from Cornell, the EAP initiated an annual distinguished lecture in his name. The Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture series brings leading scholars of Chinese and East Asian studies to Cornell to discuss critical issues in their field of research.

Professor Sangren will deliver the fourth annual Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, November 9 at 4:30 p.m in 165 McGraw Hall. His talk is entitled “Filial Piety and Its Discontents.A reception will follow at the AD White House.

In conjunction with the lecture, there will be a roundtable discussion on Friday, November 10 at 4:30 p.m. entitled Theory and Sinology,” also in 165 McGraw Hall. The roundtable will feature Sara Friedman (Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University), Kevin Carrico (Lecturer in Chinese Studies at Macquarie University), and Li Zhang (Professor of Anthropology at UC Davis), all former doctoral students of Professor Sangren now working as anthropologists of China and Taiwan.


About Professor Sangren

Professor Sangren is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on Taiwan and China. Drawing from the theoretical framings of his work on Chinese culture, Professor Sangren has pursued a series of critiques of anthropology's claims to foster heightened cultural self-consciousness or "reflexivity."

His recent book, Filial Obsessions: Chinese Patrilinity and its Discontents, is a broadly framed analysis and critique of Chinese patriliny, mythic narrative, and gender ideology informed by a synthesis of Marxian and psychoanalytic perspectives.

Sangren’s Hu Shih Lecture follows the publication of Filial Obsessions: Chinese Patriliny and Its Discontents, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). His other key publications include Chinese Sociologics: An Anthropological Account of Alienation and Social Reproduction (Bloomsbury, 2000), and History and Magical Power in a Chinese Community (Stanford, 1987), among others.


More About the Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture Series

This lecture series is video archived as a resource for the Cornell community and beyond. For full-length lecture videos and highlights:

The inaugural Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture was given by Professor Benjamin Elman (Princeton University), one of the leading figures in Chinese history, on April 10, 2015. Professor Elman used the occasion to speak on the grand historical narrative of China’s decline and Japan’s rise at the end of the nineteenth century, showing how China’s dynamic technological and economic modernizing during that time has been submerged beneath a story of defeat in international rivalry. His lecture was entitled “The Great Reversal: China, Korea, and Japan in the Early Modern World”.

Our 2015-2016 Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture was given by Professor Evelyn Rawski (University of Pittsburgh). Her talk was titled "Moving from Nation to Region: China in Northeast Asian History." Professor Rawski incorporates China into regional and world history to highlight the importance of Northeast Asia regional history. 

The 2016-2017 Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture was given by Professor Francesca Bray (University of Edinburgh; President of the international Society for the History of Technology). Francesca Bray is a social anthropologist who works on the history of agriculture and of science, technology and medicine in China, and the macro- and micro-politics of everyday technologies (including food, housing, communications and hygiene) in many other parts of the world. Her talk was entitled "Hail the Maintainers: Rethinking Technology in Chinese History."

The 2017-2018 Hu Shih Distinguished Lecture will be given by Professor P. Steven Sangren (Cornell University).