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Prof. Dr. Christian Schwermann

Principal Investigator

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[at]rub.de

 

 

Current Position

Director of the Department of 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 of Language and Literature of China at the 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 7-1-2016)

Total sum of approximately 325,000 euros.

Selected Publications

  • With Wang Ping 王平: Female Human Sacrifice in Shang-Dynasty Oracle-Bone Inscriptions. In: The International Journal of Chinese Character Studies/Shìjiè hànzì tōngbào 世界漢字通報 1/1 (2015), 49-83.
  • With R. C. Steineck (eds.): That Wonderful Composite Called Author: Authorship in East Asian Literatures from the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. Leiden 2014.
  • Rhetorical Functions of Quotations in Late Pre-Imperial and Early Imperial Memorials on Questions of Civilian-Military Leadership. In: Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 68/4 (2014), 1069-1114.
  • Composite Authorship in Western Zhōu Bronze Inscriptions: The Case of the ‘Tiānwáng guǐ’ 天亡簋 Inscription. In: C. Schwermann, 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.
  • With Karl-Heinz Golzio, Shiro Yukawa: 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, 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]. Berlin 2012, 539-594.
  • 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.
  • "Dummheit“ in altchinesischen Texten: Eine Begriffsgeschichte. [“Stupidity“ in Early Chinese Texts: A Conceptual History]. Wiesbaden 2011.
  • Feigned Madness, Self-Preservation and Covert Censure in Early China. In: M. Hermann, 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/Sankt Augustin 2007, 531-572.
  • 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/Sankt Augustin 2007.
  • 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, 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). Munich 2005, 125-157.
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