Image of Photo of Prof Kerry Brown

China Through European Eyes: 800 Years of Cultural and Intellectual Encounter

30 April 2024 17.00 - 18.30
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Virtual seminar

Professor Kerry Brown (Professor of Chinese Studies and Director, Lau China Institute, King's College London) will deliver a lecture on the jointly authored book, China Through European Eyes: 800 Years of Cultural and Intellectual Encounter. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

China Through European Eyes provides a reader's perspective on the conceptualisation of China by Europeans over the last 800 years. With annotated excerpts of their key China related writings by influential figures such as Voltaire, Ricci, Leibniz, Montesquieu, Marx, Weber, Hegel, Barthes and Kristeva, this collection brings together the visions and ideas of individuals who had a unique impact upon European culture. The views within range wildly as the authors wrestle with what sense to make of China's cultural and social difference to their lives in the West, conceptualising China as a place of threat, otherness, exoticism, but also inspiration.

This important selection allows for comparison of perspectives across different times in Europe, allowing readers to map out continuities and evolutions of attitudes towards China. It shows that contemporary European attitudes towards China have deep roots. With an extensive introduction, full bibliography and widespread annotations on original texts, this book will be of interest to anyone engaged with the role of China in the world today, particularly those interested in how the crucial relationship between China and Europe developed over time.

Kerry Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College, London. From 2012 to 2015 he was Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Prior to this he worked at Chatham House from 2006 to 2012, as Senior Fellow and then Head of the Asia Programme. From 1998 to 2005 he worked at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Beijing, and then as Head of the Indonesia, Philippine and East Timor Section. He previously graduated from Cambridge University and has a PhD in Chinese politics and language from Leeds University. He is the author of 20 books on modern Chinese politics. His ‘The Great Reversal’, a comprehensive history of Britain’s relations with China, is scheduled for release by Yale University Press in 2024, alongside a study of Taiwan with Penguin Books. 

This is one of the events in the on-going China Forum Seminar series, hosted by the China Forum, Jesus College. The seminars, given by eminent speakers, cover a broad range of topics and disciplines.


This is a virtual seminar. Attendance is free. Advance booking is required by emailing:  Priority will be given to members of Jesus College and the University of Cambridge.