Prof Anne Cheng, Chair of Chinese Intellectual History, Collège de France, will deliver the hybrid lecture titled “Competing Geographies: De-centering China” on 13 April 2022 (Wed), 6pm – 7.30pm, on Zoom and The POD, Level 16, National Library Building.


This event is part of the France-Singapore Science and Innovation Lecture Series presented by the French Embassy, Collège de France and National Research Foundation Singapore in partnership with PSL Université and NLB and held in conjunction with the exhibition “Mapping the World: Perspectives from Asian Cartography” at the National Library”.


About this event


The quest for the original texts related to Buddhist teachings is assumed to be the chief motivation for Chinese monks to take the long and perilous pilgrimage to India in the first centuries CE. Among the disputed issues in these monks’ written testimonies is one that points towards the “competing geographies” between China and India. In these sources India emerges as the very centre of civilisation, with the result that China’s traditional centrality is shifted to the periphery, giving rise to uncertainty about what was meant by “Zhongguo”: should it be taken to designate the “Middle Kingdom”, or “Madhyadeśa”, the “Central Country” in the north of present day India, namely the sacred land of origin of the Buddha?


About the speaker


Prof Anne Cheng was trained in European and Chinese intellectual history at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, at Oxford and Cambridge in Great Britain, and at Fudan University in Shanghai. After an academic career as a research fellow at CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), then as a Professor at INALCO (National Institute for Oriental languages and Civilizations), she currently holds the Chair of Chinese intellectual history at the Collège de France where she was elected in 2008.


Her main publications include a complete French translation of the Confucian Analects and a History of Chinese thought which has won several awards and has been translated into numerous languages. She has also authored a great number of articles and chief-edited several collective volumes on Chinese philosophy and Chinese thought, past and present. Since 2010, she has been directing a bilingual series of works written in classical Chinese and translated into French at Belles Lettres in Paris.


About the Lecture Series


Among the initiatives launched at the closing of the France-Singapore Year of Innovation in March 2019, the Embassy of France, in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Collège de France, and with the support of the PSL University, decided to organise the France-Singapore Science and Innovation Lecture Series.


Imminent professors from the Collège de France are invited to give lectures on their areas of speciality. The inaugural lecture was delivered in 2019 by Prof Philippe Sansonetti, a researcher in microbiology and infectious diseases at the Pasteur Institute. This was followed by Prof Alain Fischer, Professor of Paediatric Immunology and Chair of Experimental Medicine on 16 January 2020, Prof Thomas Lecuit, Chair of Dynamics of Living Systems on 28 April 2021, Prof Pierre-Michel Menger, Chair of Sociology of Creative Work on 15 June 2021 and Prof Philippe Aghion, Economist at the Collège de France and the London School of Economics on 9 November 2021.


About the Exhibition


Showcasing rare historical maps, the exhibition”Mapping the World: Perspectives from Asian Cartography” brings together different mapping traditions and worldviews, political and cultural spheres of influence, and the exchange of cartographic knowledge between civilisations across the world. This exhibition is held in partnership with the Embassy of France in Singapore, in association with vOilah! France Singapore Festival and supported by Temasek Holdings and Tikehau Capital.


Register now here.