Doctoral School: Chinese Writing and Lexicography in Medieval China

The Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University is pleased to announce a doctoral school specialist course on the topic of “Chinese Writing and Lexicography in Medieval China” from October 8–12, 2018, in Ghent, Belgium.

This Doctoral School addressed key questions concerning medieval writing practices and manuscript culture, in addition to providing an introduction to important historical lexicographical material. As such, the course addressed essential issues concerning the research of and work with medieval Chinese source materials.

The course was aimed at Ph.D. students specializing in medieval China and medieval Chinese texts and manuscripts (focusing on the period between 5th and 10th century), as well as various aspects of Chinese writing. The course enhanced the PhD students’ understanding of the highly complex mechanisms concerning the production of Chinese handwritten manuscripts and the multifaceted use of Chinese characters. In addition to a general introduction to issues of Chinese writing (with a focus on Medieval Chinese), the discussion and reading of important source materials (e.g. Dunhuang manuscripts) were one of the focal points of the lectures. Several aspects of medieval Chinese handwriting received special attention, such as phenomena of “standardization” and “variation”, the phonetic use of Chinese characters in manuscripts (phonetic loans/phonophoric elements), as well as historical material on the acquisition of writing/writing exercises among the Dunhuang findings. This enabled the students to gain a clearer understanding of medieval writing practices, help them in their critical approach to source materials, and concretely enhanced their ability to decipher historical textual material. In the second part of the course, questions of lexicographical encoding, Chinese character classification, and the organization of lexicographical material were discussed. This part aimed at helping the students to become familiar with the structure of these works, and enabling them to make use of this important type of source material. The course also provided the opportunity for discussions with the Ph.D. students and individual tutoring.

The principle instructor for this Doctoral School was Dr. Imre Galambos, one of the world’s leading experts on the development of Chinese writing and the palaeography of medieval Dunhuang manuscripts.

The program is as follows. Asterisks * indicate lectures also suitable for a more general audience (including Ph.D. students of general linguistics, etc.)

Monday, October 8th
09:30: Welcome of the participants by the Doctoral School organizers (Christoph Anderl, Ann Heirman)
* 10:00 – 12:00: General introduction to Chinese writing (Imre Galambos)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:00: Introduction: Aspects of writing practices in Dunhuang manuscripts (Imre Galambos)
15:15 – 16:45: Dunhuang manuscripts containing writing exercises / “schooling” manuscripts (Imre Galambos)

Tuesday, October 9th
10:00 – 12:00: Outside influences in Chinese writing (Imre Galambos)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:30: Segmentation and presentation of Chinese texts / text readings (Imre Galambos)

Wednesday, October 10th
10:00 – 13:00: Aspects of “standard and variation” (Imre Galambos)
13:00 – 14:00: lunch break
14:00 – 17:00 Discussion / meetings with students, Q+A / presentation of a selection of PhD projects on writing (Imre Galambos, Christoph Anderl)

Thursday, October 11th
* 10:00 – 12:00: Chinese medieval lexicography: An introduction / presentation of the Ghent Database of Medieval Chinese Texts (Christoph Anderl)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:30: The structure of the 10th century dictionary Longkan shoujing (Christoph Anderl)

Friday, October 12th
* 10:00 – 12:00: Reading of selected passages of the LKSJ (Christoph Anderl)
12:00 – 13:30: lunch break
13:30 – 15:00: Phonophoric elements in the classification system of LKSJ (Christoph Anderl)
15:15 – 17:00: Final discussions with students / short presentations of student projects (Christoph Anderl, Ann Heirman)

See original course description here: