Utrecht University’s Department of History and Art History presents a lecture by Michael Keevak (Professor of Foreign Languages, National Taiwan University, Taipei) entitled Embassies to China: Diplomacy and Cultural Encounters Before the Opium Wars. Keevak will present and discuss findings from his latest book on European embassies to China, which provides essential background to the development of global modernity through the European encounter with China.

Chinese-European relations

Considering differing notions of peace, empire, trade, religion, and diplomacy as touchstones in the relations between China and Europe on mutuality, the book examines five encounters with France, Portugal, Holland, the pope, and Russia between 1248 and 1720, and reflects on concepts that the West took for granted but which did not successfully cross over into the Chinese world. Keevak will discuss his insights into the cultural and political conflict which lay at the heart of early Chinese-European relations, as the West’s understanding of the truth and appropriateness of its cultural norms was confronted by China’s norms and beliefs.

14 December, 15:30-17:00 hrs, Room 113, Drift 23, Utrecht