The Department of Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Macau held a guest lecture entitled “Civility, Bestiality, and the Demonic: The Developmental History of Sun Wukong and the Changing Reception of Foreignness during the Song-Yuan-Ming Transition” at 10:00 am on May 6, 2021. Professor Isaac Yue from the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong delivered this guest lecture. Professor Jie Xu, interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Head of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature (DCLL), Professor Chon Chit Tang, Professor Zhong Chen, and Yue Zhang of DCLL, Chengcheng You of Department of English, and dozens of students participated in this lecture.
In the lecture, Professor Yue addressed the developmental history of Sun Wukong in the context of the changing social ethos concerning foreignness during the Song-Yuan-Ming period. By considering the representation of this character in the vernacular tradition prior to the composition of Journey to the West and in relation to the connection between the ape-demon and China’s xenophobia, the lecture achieved a twofold aim. One, it examined the development of Sun Wukong from a bestial demon to an exemplar Chinese hero and what this process can reveal about the changing milieu regarding foreignness and Chinese cultural identity. Two, it forwarded the theory that the maturation of Sun occurred along two parallel tracks, with each belonging to a different tradition and containing a different set of characteristics in their presentation of a simian demon. Finally, faculty members and students asked questions actively and benefited tremendously from the talk. This lecture is from a part of Professor Yue’s new book Monstrosity and Chinese Cultural Identity: Xenophobia and the Reimagination of Foreignness in Vernacular Literature since the Song Dynasty (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2020).