Imagine the pride when, in 2010, I was able to apply my radio skills to a project of my former teacher, now Professor, Bernhard Führer. He started a series of flagship lectures, and accompanying seminars, named in honour of a great SOAS teacher of Classical Chinese, the late Professor Angus Graham. And I could record the lectures and make them available online! This is did with the guerrilla online radio station at SOAS, Openair.fm, and its successor SOAS Radio.
To mark the start of the series, I also produced a feature about Professor Graham himself. I was rather proud of it at the time, though now I feel buffeted by excessive Radiolab-effect.
Angus Graham: A Profile
We hear from his daughter, Dawn Graham-Baker; Professor Henry Rosemont; Professor Hal Roth, Professor Roger Ames; Professor Carine Defoort,
Professor Christoph Harbsmeier, Professor Robert E Gassmann; and Dr Lars Laaman.
“The old adage is Confucian scholars would read Confucius on top of their desks and Zhuangzi, Taoist, rather eclectic underneath”: Lars Laaman.
“We would just go on into the night… my time with him in 1979 was wonderful, we would do Chinese all morning, do philosophy all afternoon and just walk the streets of London and talk and eat and drink and talk about everything in the evening”: Henry Rosemont. This spirit was resurrected during the 2010 A C Graham Memorial Lecture series.
The music included Ketawang Pusparwana, tabuh gari, the monks of the Baiyunguan temple in Beijing, David Byrne, and Chu-chin-Chow by Michael Collins.
Our tea-riffic grad student was Daniel Eng.
The World War II siren sound came from Guitarguy1985 on the freesound Project.
Download mp3. Also available on SOAS Radio.
The lectures themselves mostly require a certain amount of background in classical Chinese thought or literature. And, it strikes me now, the introductions give an overview of how my presentation has changed in the four years!
Coming to Terms with De
Professor Emeritus Robert H Gassmann was the first AC Graham Memorial Lecturer.
In this public lecture, he presents a Deconstruction of ‘Virtue’ and an Exercise in Scientific Morality. The outcome is a novel and well-evidenced translation for the word 德 (dé)，conventionally rendered as “Virtue”.
The abstract of the lecture is available on the SOAS website.
The audio here also has accompanying stills, as an ‘enhanced podcast’, meaning some of the slides can be reproduced on-screen.
Recorded at SOAS, in the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, on 23 February 2010. The lecture series was supported by The London Confucius Institute.
A Taoistic Sense of Social Responsibility
On 21 February 2011 Professor Liu Xiaogan brought his audience insight from studying Chinese philosophy to scientific experimentation, liberalism, medical ethics, revolution in North Africa, serving the people, sagely leadership, and moral standards, and leadership.
Ziran or Nature: in the Laozi and Contemporary Usage
In his examination of a term that appears a handful time in the Taoist text Laozi, Professor Liu Xiaogan takes us through Hobson, Russell, and the influence, through translation, of English and Japanese on the Chinese understanding of the term Ziran. Naturally he points out the difficulties of comparative discussion, with a philologist’s eye.
By Professor Liu Xiaogan of the Chinese University Hong Kong, delivered in SOAS on 23 February 2011, as part of the Angus Graham Memorial Lecture Series. Find out more on the SOAS website.
Do the Ten Mohist Thesis Represent Mozi’s Thought?
In the first Angus Graham Memorial Lecture of 2012, Professor Carine Defoort of the University of Leuven presents a case to overturn an accepted norm of how ten thesis or dogmas – presented now as chapter titles – define the work of the philosopher Mozi. The lecture sheds new light on early Mohism and our preconceptions when reading early sources. Delivered at SOAS on 21 February 2012. Find out more on the SOAS website.
Instruction Dialogues in the Zhuangzi: An “Anthropological” Reading
In the final Angus Graham Memorial Lecture of 2012, Professor Carine Defoort of the University of Leuven examines the idea of how the master teaches his students, in the Zhuangzi. She starts with reference to how her teacher, Angus Graham, himself taught Zhuangzi. Delivered at SOAS on 23 February 2012. Find out more on the SOAS website.
Tao Qian and Lie Zi
Professor William Nienhauser, from the University of Wisconsin, delivers the Angus Graham Memorial Lecture 2013, at SOAS.
In the second A C Graham Memorial Lecture 2014, Professor Roger T Ames of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i discusses both a textual examination of the Zhongyong and what it says about comparative philosophy, and how it offers hope while we face climate change.
The annual A C Graham Memorial Lectures are jointly organised at SOAS by the Early China Seminar at the Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia, the SOAS China Institute and the London Confucius Institute. Recorded on 21 February in SOAS by Delores William. Find out more about the lecture here on the SOAS website.
Manuscript Culture in Early China, Graham vs. excavated texts
In the first A C Graham Memorial Lecture of 2015, Professor Michael Nylan of University of California at Berkeley discusses the development of books as cultural objects, and looks at the literacy of leaders, as well as comparing the libraries of pre-modern China with the Great Library at Alexandria.
A C Graham (d. 1991) parsed texts, including the Zhuangzi, in terms of “school” affiliations. The wealth of excavated materials publicized since the 1980s, however, shows first, that “school” affiliations are anachronistic for the pre-printing era; second, that intertextuality more likely relates to distinctive features of manuscript cultures, as opposed to print cultures; and third, that many of the masterworks and Classics once dated confidently to the Chunqiu and Zhanguo (i.e., pre-unification) periods were compiled in late Western Han, during two decades’ work forming the palace libraries (26-6 BCE).
Delivered Tuesday 5 May 2015 at SOAS.
Some Limitations of Pre-Buddhist Chinese Rhetoric, Syntax and Semantics. In the second A C Graham Memorial Lecture 2016, Professor Christoph Harbsmeier compares some aspects of the expressive power of classical Chinese with that of Latin and Greek, while also touching on questions of translatability and logic across German, English, and Russian. Find out more about Professor Harbsmeier and his talk on the SOAS China Institute event page.
Related Early China Seminar, Non-ACG Memorial Lecture
Confucian Role Ethics: A Challenge to the Ideology of Individualism
Professors from Brown and Hawai’i returned to their old school – SOAS – to present a contemporary way based on Confucian Role Ethics, taking in the 99%, relationships, work and more. Professors Henry Rosemont Jr. and Roger T. Ames studied at SOAS in the 1980s with the late Professor Angus Graham, and took part in the Early China Seminar on 23 May 2012. Find out more on the SOAS website.