Associate professor of Chinese philosophy and fellow of the Queen’s College at the University of Oxford, Dr Dirk Meyer, was invited to give a guest lecture at UIC on 22 November.

His lecture was titled, ‘”Shu” (Documents) Genre and the Materiality of Making an Argument: Some Methodological Considerations’.

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Dr Dirk Meyer's introducing his lecture

Dr Meyer currently works on Chinese Philosophy with a special focus on close philological analysis. His research explores argument strategies in early Chinese thought production and the interplay of material conditions and ideas.

Before starting his lecture, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in order to encourage and strengthen cooperation research between the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures (CMTC), the Queen’s College, the University of Oxford and Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology (JAS), Hong Kong Baptist University.

UIC's Vice President (Academic Affairs) as well as Director of JAS, Prof Chen Zhi, and Dr Dirk Meyer signed the MoU.

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The signing of the MoU

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Souvenir exchange after the MoU signing

During Dr Meyer's lecture he went through the books he has written and his research process. He explained that his research is based off of Yuri Lotman’s theory that, “Text and structure mutually condition each other” and added that his approach and study is through literary forms of argument.

Dr Meyer’s lecture went through what an argument is, manuscript and text cultures, structure and phusis, what a genre is and how to apply them in the performance of an argument.

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Full room of audience members listening to Dr Meyer

At the end there were numerous questions that surrounded the idea of the author’s argumentative intentions and the true meaning of texts and the social conditions surrounding them. He responded by saying, “The original meaning of texts is a really difficult question. I personally don’t believe in original meanings of texts because there is so many social condition surrounding original meanings, whether I was in a bad mood, a good mood, was more influenced by something that day than the next.”

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Question and answer session at the end 

When asked about why he is so interested in Chinese culture, he said, “I would insist in the enterprise of humanity that we can enable us to engage with a tradition that is not necessarily ours.” He continued by explaining the importance of learning academically about other cultures and traditions.

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Members of the audience asking questions including UIC's Associate Vice President Prof George Wei

Dr Meyer gave an information session about further study at the University of Oxford the day prior on 21 November. He explained that Oxford is the world’s top public research university and was ranked number 1 in the world university rankings. Oxford is the second oldest high education institution in the world and boosts a number of leading famous world leaders, political and business leaders and 28 prime ministers.

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Reporter/Photographer: Lauren Richardson
Editors: Deen He, Samuel Burgess
(from MPRO)