International conference: Sinicizing the Early Modern World: Histories and Interpretations Beyond Euro-Diffusionism

Adrian Masters's picture
June 15, 2023 to June 17, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Chinese History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Southeast Asian History / Studies, World History / Studies

Scholars have deeply researched Europe’s historical impacts upon China. A distinguished and decades-old - but still rather limited - field has undertaken research in the other direction, noting that China has also influenced its neighbors, Europe, and the wider world in turn. Nonetheless, this perspective remains dispersed, eclectic, and little-theorized. This gathering’s questions will extend in two directions: the historicization and theorization of what one might call ‘early modern Sinicization.’

Unearthing the many types of ‘reverse diffusionism’ in which Chinese practices spread to the world has rich explanatory promise, and may even be essential in achieving a more balanced understanding of causation in global history. On the one hand, this conference invites scholarship which explores how regions close and far from China transformed, adapted to, and struggled against Sinicization in the so-called early modern period, very roughly defined here as 1400-1800.

On the other hand, this conference also invites reflections on how to characterize ‘Sinicization’ itself. We also invite scholarship which poses major methodological, sociological, and even ethical questions about Sinicization, including:

• Which sociological categories should we use to describe these many tendencies and processes (‘creolization,’ ‘interculturation,’ ‘hybridization,’ ‘entanglement,’ ‘impact- response,’ ‘hegemony,’ ‘co-colonization,’ the ‘China-centered approach,’ etc.)?

• How to navigate the pratfalls of accidental Eurocentrism, uncritical Sinophilia, and
essentialization of European and East Asian societies?

• How to include the stories of smaller polities, indigenous peoples, dynamic and creative
individuals, and others caught between Europeanization, Sinicization, and other powerful
social currents?

DATES: 15-17 June, 2023
INSTITUTION: University of Tübingen
LOCATION: Tübingen, Germany
LANGUAGE of presentations: English
FORMAT: Hybrid; in-person and online 

ORGANIZERS: Prof. Dr. Renate Dürr, PD Dr. Philip Hahn, & Dr. Adrian Masters
SPONSORS: The German Research Foundation’s SFB 923-F04 and the University of Tübingen

Funding is available for travel and accommodations. This will be a hybrid event.

Scholars from all stages are invited to apply.


Contact Info: 

Dr. Adrian Masters

University of Trier, Germany

Contact Email: