Academic Workshop: Translating the “Chinese Dream”

On October 21st 2022 we held a De:link // Re:link workshop entitled Translating the “Chinese Dream”: Narratives and Languages in New Silk Road Regions in Berlin.  

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, initiated 2013 under Xi Jinping) is a large transregional infrastructure project that not only aims to connect trade, politics and people. It seems to facilitate the translation of some parts of the so-called “Chinese Dream” within the New Silk Road regions – including China. The “Chinese Dream” remains vague, but is regarded as an ideological and political concept outlining the aim to regain the power and influence of the former Chinese empire until 2049 when the People’s Republic of China turns 100 years old.

In this workshop we were looking at the so-called Chinese Dream from different angles and analysed its manifestations in various forms and media. Furthermore, we were interested in the translatability of the Chinese Dream into other languages but also into non-verbal forms of communication such as e.g. art.

For the key inputs we invited three renowned scholars who provided insights in their research concerning the Chinese Dream and transfer potential of research results to the broader public:

Christian Steinau (Käte Hamburger Research Centre “global dis:connect”): Social sciences and humanities in a dis:connected world

Sophia Kidd (Research Center of Literary Geography (RCLC) / Southwest University (China)): Ontology of Self in Translating China’s BRI

Aldin Mutembei (University of Dar es Salaam / Confucius Institute Dar es Salaam): Reflections on manifestations of the Chinese Dream in Tanzania

Afterwards, selected researchers of De:link // Re:link gave short presentations on various related topics from different disciplines and covering different regions.

Overall, the workshop addressed academics who are interested in producing and exchanging knowledge on the above-mentioned topics. The workshop followed a dialogic and interactive format with an equal balance of input and output: There were different visual and auditive inputs to tackle notions of narratives, the Chinese Dream, transfer, translatability, and cultural and communicative practices. These inputs functioned as starting and anchor points for open discussions and helped the participants to gain new insights and knowledge across disciplines.

The workshop was simultaneously the production site and basis of a planned transfer format for the broader public. In order to produce an audio feature that provides accessible insights into our interest to analyse the BRI through the lens of cultures, Journalist Susanne Balthasar was invited to accompanying the event. The feature will capture, juxtapose and reflect individual research projects and perspectives and will be broadcasted on our project website and other public channels.

The workshop was conceptualized and organized by Dr. Jamila Adeli and Dr. Linda Ammann.