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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

China and the Czech Lands: from early contacts up to the present day

With Daniel Topinka and Jakub Havlicek (Palacký University, Czech Republic)

Series: Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective

Date: Wednesday 6 May 2015, 6.30pm-8.30pm

Location: Room 7.03, Clement House

Chair: Dr Fang-Long Shih (LSE Taiwan Research Programme)

Discussants: Dr Kent Deng (LSE Department of Economic History); Mr Stuart Thompson (SOAS)


This presentation will discuss contacts and interactions between China and Central European countries, focusing in particular on the Czech lands and covering both the history and development of Chinese Studies at Czech and Central European universities, and also Chinese migration to Central European countries. The presentation will also introduce the project "CHINET: Forging a scientific team and international networking in the field of Chinese Studies".

In Part One, Jakub Havlicek will introduce accounts of medieval and early modern travelers to China, focusing on travelers and missionaries who were of Czech origin or affiliated with Czech universities. This section will also deal with the beginnings of Chinese Studies in the Czech lands, highlighting the scholars who institutionalized and further developed the field of Chinese Studies at the universities in Olomouc and Prague. The most important scholarly works and translations of Czech scholars in the field will be surveyed, along with the history of the Oriental Institute in Prague.

In Part Two, Daniel Topinka will introduce the topic of Chinese migration to Europe in historical perspective. This section of the presentation will discuss the process of Chinese migration to EU countries from anthropological and sociological perspectives, dealing with various phenomena such as the so-called “new migration” and providing a comparison of data on migration from Central European countries. It will focus on immigration to the Czech Republic, on the social and cultural contexts, and compare the situation in the Czech Republic with other European states from both etic and emic perspectives.

About the Speakers

Daniel Topinka studied Sociology and Religious Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He received his PhD in Sociology in 2008 with the topic “Integration of Muslims into Czech society” at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. He is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology at Palacký University. His studies are concerned with social inclusion, sociology of migration, integration of migrating and ethnic groups, and sociology of religion.

Jakub Havlicek received his PhD in the Study of Religions from Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He is currently an assistant professor of Cultural Anthropology at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. His research interests include: international relations in East Asia, the Yasukuni Shrine issue, theory and methods in the Anthropology of Religion, and religion and politics in the Czech lands.

About the Discussants 

Dr Kent Deng is Reader in Economic History at the LSE.  Since 2000, he has been the secretary of the Third World History and Economic Development Group, UK. He publishes in the areas of Chinese economic history during the pre-modern and early modern periods, and his works include The Chinese Premodern Economy (Routledge 1999). He has also worked as a radio journalist and broadcaster (for ABC in Australia), and he holds professional Mandarin/English translation and interpretation qualifications.

Stuart Thompson was formerly Lecturer in Asian Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He is also a committee member of the LSE Taiwan Culture Research Programme, where he has been the Chair of the London Taiwan Seminar since 2003. He taught a variety of courses, but focused on Chinese culture and society, and devised courses on the anthropology of education. He was also Convener of, and a teacher on, the interdisciplinary MA Contemporary Taiwan course. He has been researching Taiwan since his initial fieldwork in 1980. He specializes in the study of education, cultural literacy, social aspects of food, and death-related rites and representations. He is co-editor of Consuming China (Routledge, 2006), and of Re-Writing Culture in Taiwan (Routledge, 2009).