“Arabic Literature and the Boundaries of Translation History in Modern China”

This talk will take up questions concerning the history of literary translation between Chinese and Arabic from the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries. Drawing on his current research and experience as a translator of Chinese intellectual history, Michael Gibbs Hill will discuss how intellectuals in the Qing empire and the Republic of China—Muslim, Manchu, and Han Chinese—used Arabic as an alternative means to discuss the possibilities of commensurability between Chinese and other languages, a debate nearly always framed in terms of comparisons to the European Renaissance.