Confucius Institute Lecture to Explore Historiography in China, Greece and Israel

By Loretta Stafford
University of Kentucky Confucius Institute (UKCI) is partnering with the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the UK College of Arts and Sciences to welcome University of Oregon Professor Stephen Durrant as the next speaker of the 2017 Distinguished Scholars Series. Durrant's lecture examining historiography in Chinese, Greek and Hebrew society will take place from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, at the Alumni Gallery located in the William T. Young Library. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Stephen Durrant's lecture, "What Does It Mean to Write History? Perspectives From Ancient China, Greece and Israel," focuses on the earliest historical texts of each civilization, and investigates how those writings shape what follows. While there are many similarities between these traditions of historiography, the differences are so striking that they call into question whether we are, in each case, exploring precisely the same phenomenon. Durrant's talk will emphasize the Chinese tradition, which is often overlooked in comparative historiography, and will highlight the curious variances of the other two traditions.
Durrant previously served as vice president for International Affairs at University of Oregon and now is a professor emeritus at the university. He is a leading scholar in the field of Manchu literature studies, as well as in the field of Chinese narrative and historiographic tradition of the late Zhou and Han periods. Durrant's translation of "Zuozhuan" (generally translated as "Zuo Tradition") was recently published by University of Washington Press and he is also working on a book detailing issues surrounding the formation of the Confucian canon.
Durrant has co-authored numerous publications as a result of his interest in early Chinese narratological tradition as well as contemporary narrative traditions in Hebrew and Greek. In 1995, he published "The Cloudy Mirror: Tension and Conflict in the Writings of Sima Qian" followed by "The Siren and the Sage: Knowledge and Wisdom in Ancient Greece" in 2000. His most recent publication, "The Letter to Ren An and Sima Qian's Legacy" was released in 2016.
A gateway for Chinese language, culture and art to the people of Kentucky, UKCI provides leadership, support and coordination for Chinese language and programs in K-12 schools as well as on UK's campus; assists and facilitates establishing and maintaining faculty and student exchanges between UK colleges and Chinese universities; conducts Chinese language and cultural exchange; and promotes education about China on campus, across the Bluegrass region, and throughout the Commonwealth. To keep up with UK Confucius Institute and future events, join the institute's listserv and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (@UKConfucius).
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