Cosmopolitan Chinese Masculinities and the Confucian Sublime

Key information

5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
Alumni Lecture Theatre (SALT)

About this event

Dr Derek Hird (Lancaster University)



How to comprehend the ambivalences and anxieties in globe-trotting Chinese male professionals’ sense of their gendered and cultural identities? This talk connects Chinese middle-class men’s understandings of themselves with wider debates about China’s place in the world. To elucidate the desire of some highly cosmopolitan Chinese middle-class men “to become a Chinese gentleman”, the talk explores the notion of a postsocialist Confucian sublime, a vision of a cultural order differentiated from perceived Western values and practices and ruled over by virtuous men. The talk argues that the notion of the Confucian sublime offers globally mobile professional Chinese men a means to transcend their ambivalence towards Western modernity by providing a sense of wholeness and attainment both at a personal level and in China’s engagement with contemporary globality. This talk concludes that the Confucian sublime is, however, founded on an inherently masculinist social order.

About the speaker

Derek Hird is Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies and Head of Languages and Cultures at Lancaster University. His research interests include Chinese masculinities, the Chinese middle classes, and critical language pedagogies. His publications include his co-authored Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China (HKUP, 2014) and co-edited Chinese Discourses on Happiness (HKUP, 2018). His edited volume, Critical Pedagogy in Modern Languages Education , due to be published in 2023, is under contract with Bloomsbury.


This event is open to the public and free to attend, however registration is required. Click here to register

Chair: Dr Jieyu Liu (Deputy Director, SOAS China Institute)

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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