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Seeing the West Through a Chinese Lens: Liang Qichao’s Travels and Reflections in North America and Europe

February 25, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 PM EST

Born on February 23, 1873 in Guangdong Province, Liang Qichao was as a prodigy, passing the local examinations at 11 and the provincial examinations at 16, and subsequently emerged as a most brilliant scholar and the foremost intellectual leader of China in the first two decades of the 20th century. His thought had a significant influence on the political and social reforms of modern China. He inspired Chinese scholars and activists with his writings and the reform movements he led. His translations of Western and Japanese books into Chinese further introduced new theories and ideas to a burgeoning China.

Referred to as “China’s First Democrat” by Orville Schell, Liang Qichao joined his teacher Kang Youwei in the reform movement of 1898. When the movement was defeated, he fled to Japan and promoted a constitutional monarchy and organized political opposition to the Qing dynasty. After the revolution of 1911, he returned to China to join the government under various administrations, serving as the chief justice, the first president of the currency system bureau and finance chief among other posts. After 1920 Liang served as professor at Tsinghua (Qinghua) University and later held the position as head of the Beijing Library.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Liang Qichao, the Renwen Society presents a symposium on February 25, 2023 to commemorate the great statesman and scholar. With the focus on two separate trips taken by Liang Qichao to North America in 1903 and Europe in 1919, the symposium will be led by two distinguished scholars, Prof. Wang Xi and Prof. Ouyang Zhesheng. Prof. Wang will discuss Liang Qichao’s observations and commentaries on U.S. politics and race relations as recorded in his 1903 publication, titled My Travels in North America (新大陆游记), and Prof. Ouyang Zhesheng will discuss Liao Qichao’s observations and reflections on his travels in Europe in 1919 as recorded in his 1920 publication, entitled Reflections on My Travels in Europe (欧游心影录).

Annie Liang-Zhou, great-great-granddaughter of Liang Qichao, will present on the life of her illustrious great-great-grandfather.

中国近代史上著名的政治家、启蒙思想家、教育家、史学家和文学家梁启超先生出生于1873年2月23日,他自幼聪颖好学,才思敏捷,四岁便在开始学习中国古代典籍,有“神童”之称,十二岁考中秀才,十七岁考中举人,1890年师从康有为,求学于万木草堂,接受维新变法思想。先后倡导、发动公车上书,通过强学会、《时务报》等积极宣传维新变法理论,参与和领导了“戊戌变法”运动,成为维新派的杰出代表。戊戌政变后,梁启超东渡日本,并创办《清议报》《新民丛报》,广泛宣传了西方政治思想和社会学说,影响和启迪了整整一代人。

辛亥革命后,梁启超回国,先后入阁任司法总长、币制局总裁和财政总长,其间组织策划了反对袁世凯称帝的“护国战争”,在此努力中发挥了“一支笔强于十万雄兵”的巨大作用。 1918年,梁启超感愤于军阀的统治,离开政界,转而专注于学术和教育事业,组织共学社、讲学社,不遗余力地从事讲学和著述,研究重点为先秦诸子、清代学术、史学和佛学。1922年起在清华学校兼课,1925年受聘主持清华国学研究院,与王国维、赵元任、陈寅恪等合称为清华四导师。梁启超一生著述宏富,达一千四百万字,结集为《饮冰室合集》。其于学术研究,涉猎广泛,学贯中西,囊括古今,在哲学、文学、史学、经学、法学、伦理学、宗教学等领域,均有卓越建树。

为纪念梁启超先生诞辰150周年,华美人文学会于2023年美东时间2月25日晚8时至9时半(北京时间2月26日上午9点至10点半)举办在线研讨会,由美国宾州印第安纳大学历史系王希教授和北京大学历史学系欧阳哲生教授主讲。1903年梁启超应美洲维新会之邀到加拿大和美国游历9个月,1919年梁启超以巴黎和会中国代表团会外顾问及记者的身份赴欧洲数月。这两次旅行给梁启超提供了观察和了解欧美政治和社会的机会,同时也促使他反思并为中国近代化进程起到启示作用。此次研讨会将聚焦梁启超的这两次游历,王希教授将讨论梁启超的《新大陆游记》(1903年)以及其对美国政治和种族关系的观察与评论,欧阳哲生教授将以梁启超的《欧游心影录》为文本,讨论梁启超对欧战的观察与思想转向。

梁启超先生的玄孙女梁周洋女士将在研讨会上介绍她高祖的生平。

About the Speakers 发言人介绍

Annie Liang-Zhou 梁周洋

Annie Liang-Zhou is Co-Founder of Liang Capital Partners. She is also Managing Partner of Universal Pacific Advisors, a cross-border advisory firm for sustainable businesses. She currently serves as President of the Huamei Green Foundation which engages in environmental education and action. Previously, she was part of the founding team of Asia Green Fund, the first private equity fund in China investing in cleantech and energy. She earned her MBA from University of Oxford, MPA from Columbia University, and bachelor’s from George Washington University. She also serves on the young advisory boards of several non-profit organizations including World Monuments Fund, China Institute/Serica, and Teach for China. She is a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations and Committee of 100’s Next Gen Leaders.

梁周洋, 良之家族办公室(Liang Capital Partners)的联合创始人兼执行合伙人,目前还担任华美绿色环保基金会总裁。她曾担任绿动资本海外对外关系部的总经理,负责所有海外企业、政府、媒体、研究机构和国际组织的事务对接。梁周洋女士拥有牛津大学赛德商学院的MBA学位、哥伦比亚大学国际和公共事务学院的MPA学位,以及乔治华盛顿大学的学士学位。她担任多个非营利组织的青年委员会理事,包括美丽中国、华美协进社和世界古建筑遗产保护基金会。她是美中关系全国委员会和百人会青年委员会的会员。

Wang Xi 王希

Wang Xi received his Ph.D. in United States history from Columbia University. He is currently a professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, specializing in 19th-century United States history, African American history, and history of American constitutionalism. He held a Boya Professorship in the History Department, Peking University, from 2008 to 2020. He has authored, among other things, The Trial of Democracy: Black Suffrage and Northern Republicans, 1860-1910 (1997) and Principles and Compromises: The Spirit and Practice of the American Constitution (expanded edition, 2014). His translation work includes The Story of American Freedom (2002) and Give Me Liberty: An American History (2010), both of which were authored by the prominent American historian Eric Foner.

王希,美国哥伦比亚大学历史系美国史博士,美国宾夕法尼亚州印第安纳大学(Indiana University of Pennsylvania)历史系教授(1994至今),研究领域为:19世纪美国历史、非裔美国人历史、美国宪政史。著有 The Trial of Democracy: Black Suffrage and Northern Republicans, 1860-1910、《原则与妥协:美国宪法的精神与实践》;译著包括:《美国自由的故事》、《给我自由:一部美国的历史》。2022年出版《重新认识美国》(合编);《在美国教历史》(合编)。

Ouyang Zhesheng 欧阳哲生

Ouyang Zhesheng is a professor in the Department of History at Peking University. His area of specialization includes the history of modern Chinese thought and the history of cultural exchanges between China and the West. Prof. Ouyang has published more than 100 academic papers in Social Sciences in China, Historical Research, Journal of Peking University, Modern Chinese History Studies, Historiography Bimonthly, History of Chinese Philosophy, Chinese Studies in History, and other domestic and foreign publications. His published monographs include The Tradition of the New Culture: The Study of the Figures and Thoughts of the May 4th Movement, A Critical Biography of Yan Fu, Chinese Culture in the 20th Century, Science and Politics: the Study of V. K. Ting, Exploring Hu Shih’s Spiritual World, The Historical Interpretation of the May 4th Movement, Research on Fu Si-nian’s Lifelong Career, Ancient Beijing and Western Civilization, Hu Shih’s Fate of Love in Peking. His compiled works include Collected Works of Hu Shih (12 volumes), Collected Works of Fu Si-nian (7 volumes), Collected Works of V. K. Ting (7 volumes) and The New Culture Movement (7 volumes).

欧阳哲生, 北京大学历史学系教授、博士生导师。教育部“长江学者”特聘教授。主要从事中国近现代思想史、中西文化交流史研究。在《历史研究》、《北京大学学报》、《中共党史研究》、《近代史研究》、《史学理论研究》、《中国文化》、Chinese Studies in History等国内外刊物发表论文一百余篇。著作有:《新文化的传统——五四人物与思想研究》、《二十世纪中国文化》、《严复评传》、《科学与政治——丁文江研究》、《探寻胡适的精神世界》、《五四运动的历史诠释》、《傅斯年一生志业研究》、《古代北京与西方文明》、《胡适的北京情缘》等。编著有:《胡适文集》(12册)、《傅斯年文集》(七卷)、《丁文江文集》(七卷)、《新文化运动》(7册)等。

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