[Luojia Lecture]Professor Michael McMullen of Cambridge University Talks about the Public and Private of the Tang Dynasty in China

On October 26th, in the 267thLuojia Lecture, David Lawwrence McMullen, an Academician of the British Academy and a professor at the University of Cambridge, presented an academic report entitled “Public and Private in the Tang Dynasty: A Reassessment of a Problem”.

Historically, the relationship between public and private has existed in many civilized societies. China has long had the concept of "public", which has been organized into a social value and gradually entered the political life of the country. The record of "private" is just a description or an emotion, without any moral embarrassment.

Later, changes gradually occurred. In official discourse, both in space and in concept, public and private are more and more opposed. The public is a universal consciousness of morality that covers the whole society, while the concept of private is considered to be narrow, one-sided, and morally not noble.

McMullen pointed out that after the Song Dynasty, Taoism flourished. People regarded "privateness" as an absolute negative existence and "publicity" as an absolute justice. The discussion of public and private in the Tang Dynasty stood on a more practical standpoint. The political life and daily life of the Tang Dynasty were quite rich, and the private side was allowed to exist.

Therefore, this richness of the Tang Dynasty has attracted the attention of more and more academic researchers.

McMullen is an Academician of the British Academy of Sciences, and a lifelong academician of St. John's College, University of Cambridge. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1967 and has since taught at the University of Cambridge.

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