Christian Schwermann
© Christian Schwermann

Prof. Dr. Christian Schwermann

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Faculty of East Asian Studies
Department of Chinese Language and Literature
Universitätsstraße 134
D-44780 Bochum
Phone: +49 / (0)234 / 32 29253
christian.schwermann@rub.de


Current Position

  • Director of the Department of Language and Literature of China
  • Professor for Language and Literature of China

Research

Christian Schwermann focuses on the historical semantics of dependency in Early China (ca. 1200 to 200 B.C.E.) paying particular attention to its economic aspects. Whereas previous research described ancient Chinese societies along the conceptual lines of "slavery" and "freedom", a closer look at the old Chinese lexicon reveals that there was no such polar conceptual dichotomy. Instead, there was a wide range of terms designating various degrees of dependency, many of them referring to types of temporary forced labor and related to the punishment of crimes (punitive labor). It was likely only since the fourth century B.C.E. that it was possible for people to be bought and sold on markets. It was also likely around this time that a mode of production remotely resembling ancient slave economies emerged.However, even this mode of production is reflected in the sources and can be analyzed in terms of forced labor. That being said, this slavery-resembling mode does not seem to have been the predominant mode of production in Early China.

1 book, 2 edited volumes, 17 articles and reviews. Ca. 150 invited talks and lectures, and ca. 120 supervised M.A., B.A. and Ph.D. theses.

Education

  • 2014                         Habilitation and Venia legendi in Sinology, University of Muenster, Germany
  • 1999–2005             Ph.D. in Sinology, Unversity of Bonn, Germany
  • 1991–1999             M.A. in Sinology and English Language and Literature, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 1987–1990             M.A. in Sinology, Japanology, Ancient, Medieval and Modern History, University of Bonn (Germany) and Sichuan University (Chengdu, China)

Academic Positions

  • 2016–present          Professor for Language and Literature of China, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
  • 2010–2016              Research Associate at the Department of Sinology, Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2009–2010              Teacher of Chinese and English at the Geschwister-Scholl Comprehensive School Dortmund, Germany
  • 2001–2009              Research Associate at the Department of Sinology of University of Bonn, Germany

External Funding

  • German Resarch Foundation (DFG) (subproject SFB 1167, since 2016)
    Total sum of approximately 325,000 euros.

Selected Publications

  • and Wang Ping. 2015. “Female Human Sacrifice in Shang-Dynasty Oracle-Bone Inscriptions.” The International Journal of Chinese Character Studies/世界漢字通報 1(1): 49–83.

  • and Raji C. Steineck, eds. 2014. That Wonderful Composite Called Author. Authorship in East Asian Literatures from the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture 4. Leiden: Brill.

  • 2014. “Rhetorical Functions of Quotations in Late Pre-Imperial and Early Imperial Memorials on Questions of Civilian-Military Leadership.” Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 68(4): 1069–1114.

  • 2014. “Composite Authorship in Western Zhōu Bronze Inscriptions. The Case of the ‘Tiānwáng guǐ’ 天亡簋 Inscription.” In That Wonderful Composite Called Author. Authorship in East Asian Literatures from the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century, edited by Christian Schwermann and Raji C. Steineck, 30–57. Boston: Brill.

  • Karl-Heinz Golzio, and Shiro Yukawa. 2012. “Schlechte Namen, Leserlenkung und Herrscherkritik in antiken chinesischen Texten.” In Auf der Suche nach der Entwicklung menschlicher Gesellschaften. Festschrift für Hans Dieter Ölschleger zu seinem sechzigsten Geburtstag von seinen Freunden und Kollegen, edited by Günther Distelrath, Ralph Lützeler, and Barbara Manthey, 539–594. Berlin: EB-Verlag.

  • 2011. “Gattungsdynamik in der traditionellen chinesischen Literatur. Von der ʻErläuterung’ (shuō) zur ʻErzählung’ (xiǎoshuō).” In: Was sind Genres? Nicht-abendländische Kategorisierungen von Gattungen, edited by Stephan Conermann and Amr El Hawary, 47–85. Berlin: EB-Verlag.

  • 2011. “Dummheit” in altchinesischen Texten. Eine Begriffsgeschichte. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

  • 2007. “Feigned Madness, Self-Preservation and Covert Censure in Early China.” In Zurück zur Freude. Studien zur chinesischen Literatur und Lebenswelt und ihrer Rezeption in Ost und West. Festschrift für Wolfgang Kubin, edited by Marc Hermann and Christian Schwermann, 531–572. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica.

  • and Marc Hermann, eds. 2007. Zurück zur Freude. Studien zur chinesischen Literatur und Lebenswelt und ihrer Rezeption in Ost und West. Festschrift für Wolfgang Kubin. Monumenta Serica Monograph Series 57. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica.

  • 2005. “Collage-Technik als Kompositionsprinzip klassischer chinesischer Prosa. Der Aufbau des Kapitels ʻTāng wèn’ (Die Fragen des Tāng) im Liè zǐ.” In Komposition und Konnotation – Figuren der Kunstprosa im Alten China, edited by Wolfgang Behr and Joachim Gentz, 125–157. Munich: Iudicium Verlag.

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