【Academic Exchange】High-end Interdisciplinary Dialogue: Reflections on a Cross-Cultural Dialogue

On April 17, renowned sinologist Professor Karl-Heinz Pohl from Trier University was invited to give an academic lecture on "Reflections on a Cross-Cultural Dialogue" at Wuhan University. This event was part of the "High-end Interdisciplinary Dialogue" series organized by the Youth Team of "Classical Text Interpretation and Discourse Change in Cross-Cultural Communication."

Professor Karl-Heinz Pohl

Professor Pohl began by defining culture, discussing the iceberg model of culture, Clifford Geertz and Max Weber's concept of culture, the dynamics of culture, and values and identity. He then led into reflections on what cross-cultural dialogue means. Professor Pohl believes that cross-cultural dialogue aims to achieve better mutual understanding by engaging at various levels of different societies. However, such dialogue is influenced by factors including the relationship between the dialogue parties, language, historical experiences, symbolic positioning, ethnocentric attitudes, evaluating the other side's reality with one's own ideals, similarity traps, ideological universalist beliefs, historical relativism, and teacher-student relationships. Regarding how to initiate cross-cultural dialogue, Professor Pohl provided insights from four aspects: historical reflection and awareness of our own standards, understanding various levels of the other culture, particularly the logic of its value system, seeking common ideals, and being open to different perspectives and willing to embrace them. Professor Pohl's profound insights into cross-cultural dialogue greatly inspired the audience.


Professors Pohl, Bao Xiangfei, Cheng Yun, and Yang Hua Engage in a Dialogue

In the dialogue session, Professor Bao Xiangfei shared his thoughts, finding the lecture highly enlightening. Discussing the distinction between culture and civilization, and dialogue and conversation, he pointed out that dialogue is an adventure as its direction is unknown before it begins. He also highlighted the difficulties of cross-cultural communication, urging the need to stand "between cultures" without rushing for others' understanding.

Professor Cheng Yun expressed concerns about the prospects of cross-cultural dialogue, considering the current global instability and heightened conflicts between nations and regions. Despite these challenges, he emphasized that shared human wisdom facilitates communication and dialogue, and traditional literature can serve as an ideal medium for cross-cultural dialogue.

Professor Yang Hua noted the profound significance of the lecture, stressing the importance of mutual understanding and recognition in overcoming cultural centrism. He emphasized achieving mutual understanding through learning and borrowing from each other to realize the ideal of "cosmopolitanism".

The discussions among the four professors sparked enthusiastic interactions among the audience, who posed questions covering Chinese philosophy, translation studies, phenomenology, and more. The professors responded in detail to each question.


Group Photo of Professor Pohl and Attendees

Youth Team Introduction: The "Classical Text Interpretation and Discourse Change in Cross-Cultural Communication" research team is a youth academic team focused on the forefront of humanities and social sciences development. It is jointly led by Associate Professor Zhang Hongyan from the School of Foreign Languages and Literature and Associate Professor Liao Cancan from the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University. The team addresses key issues such as classical text interpretation, translation and interaction, and the discourse change from ancient times to the present and from China to the world. The team adopts a multi-disciplinary cooperative approach, approaching these issues from a cross-cultural communication perspective to gain a deeper understanding of the universal significance of classical texts and the horizontal and vertical exchanges and evolution of Eastern and Western cultures. The team spans three schools: the School of Foreign Languages, the School of Philosophy, and the School of Arts, involving ten secondary disciplines and six languages.

Authors: Zhang Shenwei, Wang Ye, Zhu Zifan

Source: China Social Sciences Network

(Editor: Wang Yanqin)

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