Published: Sept. 24, 2012

CAS is happy to report the success of one of our recent workshops, "Letters and Epistolary Culture in China" held on August 17 and 18. Dr. Antje Richter, Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations at CU-Boulder, organized the event and provided the following summary of the workshop:

The workshop was a pioneering event, since it was the first meeting of a group of scholars with different backgrounds in Chinese Studies who share an interest in letter writing in China. Although epistolary communication has been crucial elements of Chinese social life for more than two thousand years, they have not received the scholarly attention they deserve. This workshop provided this focus. At the workshop, nineteen scholars – from PhD candidates to senior professors - working in various fields - literature, history, archaeology, and art history - presented and discussed their research, in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture of written communication.

The topics examined included material aspects, textual features, literary characteristics, historical implications, and the general importance of letters for Chinese society as well as methodological questions regarding the study of this field.

Overall, the workshop proved that letters are fascinating and rewarding documents, in China no less than in any of the other cultures where they have been studied intensively for the last century. Their particular potential as compared to other types of texts lies in their encompassing nature. They are not only covering both elite and non-elite segments of society, but also different aspect of each individual letter writer's life and are thus worthy of scholarly attention.

For a complete list of our upcoming events, please see our Events List.