Chen Pingyuan

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH) of the University of Macau (UM) held the Macao Humanities Forum, featuring Chen Pingyuan, first-class professor of Philosophy and Social Sciences of China, Boya Chair Professor at Peking University, and director of the Institute of Modern Chinese Humanities at Peking University, as the guest speaker. Prof Chen delivered a lecture titled ‘The Facets of the New Culture Movement’, which attracted the participation of many on-site and online participants, including students and faculty members of UM.

Speaking at the event, Joaquim Kuong, assistant dean of FAH, first mentioned Macao’s pivotal role as a hub for cross-cultural communication. He then discussed the significance of the New Culture Movement in the history of modern China, and encouraged participants to carry forward the movement’s spirit. Zhu Shoutong, director of the Centre for Chinese History and Culture, presented Prof Chen’s recent publications and anthologies. He highlighted that as the most renowned contemporary researcher in the field of literary history, Prof Chen is among the few contemporary humanities scholars who has made an outstanding contribution to the fields of Chinese literary education, culture education and higher education within his own discipline.

During the lecture, Prof Chen first examined the distinctions and similarities between the May Fourth Movement and the New Culture Movement in terms of their naming, characteristics, goals, and basic discourse. He then interpreted the New Culture Movement from the perspective of the history of education, using Peking University under the leadership of Cai Yuanpei as a case study. He also examined how Cai Yuanpei’s confrontations with his opponents, such as Lin Qinnan, were subsequently presented in historical accounts as conflicts between old and new forces.

Prof Chen attempted to challenge the premise that good and evil are mutually exclusive and reconstruct the stories of underappreciated historical figures, such as Gu Hongming, Liu Shipei, Zhang Houzai, and Feng Xingsan. He also discussed sociologist Zhang Jingsheng and the great controversy surrounding the book The History of Sexuality. Prof Chen concluded that many voices have been left out of historians’ accounts and that, in order to add depth to the discourse, researchers studying the New Culture Movement should think from multiple perspectives and bring in the hidden and shifting perspectives. During the Q&A session, Prof Chen engaged in in-depth discussions with UM students and faculty members.

This was the fifth lecture of the Macao Humanities Forum in the 2023/2024 academic year. Each year, the forum invites renowned scholars in different fields of the humanities to share their latest research findings with students and faculty members in Macao. Previous lectures of the forum have covered a wide range of subjects, including literature, linguistics, history, translation, and arts.

The lecture attracts the participation of many students and faculty members