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Prof. Dr. Christian Schwermann

Principal Investigator

Schwermann.jpg

Ruhr-Universität Bochum 
Faculty of East Asian Studies, Department of Chinese Language and Literature
Universitätsstraße 134
44780 Bochum
Tel.: +49 234 32-29253
 
 
 
 
 

Current Position: 

Director of the Department of Language and Literature of China, Ruhr-University Bochum

Education

1987-1990       M.A. Studies in Sinology, Japanology, Ancient, Medieval and Modern History, UoB and Sichuan                                                           University, Chengdu, China
1991-1999       M.A. Studies in Sinology and English Language and Literature, UoB
1999-2005       Doctoral Thesis in Sinology UoB
2014                Habilitation and Venia legendi in Sinology, University of Münster

Academic Positions

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

Research: 

CS 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 MA, BA and PhD theses

External Funding: 

German Resarch Foundation (DFG) (subproject SFB 1167), since 7-1-2016), total volume approx. 325,000 euros

Selected Publications:

  1. "Dummheit“ in altchinesischen Texten: Eine Begriffsgeschichte [“Stupidity“ in Early Chinese Texts: A Conceptual History]. Wiesbaden 2011.
  2. With R. C. Steineck (eds.), That Wonderful Composite Called Author: Authorship in East Asian Literatures from the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. Leiden 2014.
  3. With M. Hermann (eds.), Zurück zur Freude. Studien zur chinesischen Literatur und Lebenswelt und ihrer Rezeption in Ost und West. Festschrift für Wolfgang Kubin [Back to Joy. Studies on Literature and Everyday Life in China and their Reception in East and West. Festschrift for Wolfgang Kubin]. Nettetal and Sankt Augustin 2007.
  4. With Wang Ping 王平, Female Human Sacrifice in Shang-Dynasty Oracle-Bone Inscriptions, The International Journal of Chinese Character Studies/Shìjiè hànzì tōngbào 世界漢字通報 1, 1, 2015, 49-83.
  5. Rhetorical Functions of Quotations in Late Pre-Imperial and Early Imperial Memorials on Questions of Civilian-Military Leadership, Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 68,4, 2014, 1069-1114.
  6. Composite Authorship in Western Zhōu Bronze Inscriptions: The Case of the ‘Tiānwáng guǐ’ 天亡簋 Inscription, in: C. Schwermann and R. C. Steineck (eds.), That Wonderful Composite Called Author: Authorship in East Asian Literatures from the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. Boston 2014, 30-57.
  7. Schlechte Namen, Leserlenkung und Herrscherkritik in antiken chinesischen Texten [Bad Names, Guidance of Readers and Critique of Rulers in Early Chinese Texts], in: G. Distelrath, R. Lützeler and B. Manthey (eds.), Auf der Suche nach der Entwicklung menschlicher Gesellschaften: Festschrift für Hans Dieter Ölschleger zu seinem sechzigsten Geburtstag von seinen Freunden und Kollegen [In Search of the Development of Human Societies: Festschrift for Hans Dieter Ölschleger on his 60th Birthday from his Friends and Colleagues]. In collaboration with Karl-Heinz Golzio und Shiro Yukawa. Berlin 2012, 539-594.
  8. Gattungsdynamik in der traditionellen chinesischen Literatur: Von der "Erläuterung‘ (shuō) zur "Erzählung‘ (xiǎoshuō) [Generic Dynamics in Traditional Chinese Literature. From the 'Explanation' (shuō) to 'Narrative' (xiǎoshuō)], in: S. Conermann (ed.), Was sind Genres? Nicht-abendländische Kategorisierungen von Gattungen [What are Genres? Non-Western Categorizations of Genres]. Berlin 2011, 47-85.
  9. Feigned Madness, Self-Preservation and Covert Censure in Early China, in: M. Hermann and C. Schwermann (eds.), Zurück zur Freude. Studien zur chinesischen Literatur und Lebenswelt und ihrer Rezeption in Ost und West. Festschrift für Wolfgang Kubin [Back to Joy. Studies on Literature and Everyday Life in China and their Reception in East and West. Festschrift for Wolfgang Kubin. Nettetal and Sankt Augustin 2007, 531-572.
  10. Collage-Technik als Kompositionsprinzip klassischer chinesischer Prosa: Der Aufbau des Kapitels 'Tāng wèn‘ (Die Fragen des Tāng) im Liè zǐ [Collage Technique as a Compositional Principle of Classical Chinese Prose. The Construction of the Chapter 'Tāng wèn' (The Questions of Tāng) in Liè zǐ], in: W. Behr and J. Gentz (eds.), Komposition und Konnotation – Figuren der Kunstprosa im Alten China [Composition and Connotation – Figures of Art Prose in Ancient China], Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung, 29, 2005, 125-157.
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