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East Asian Studies Center Colloquium: Lynn Struve

“The Historicity of Dreaming: A Case from Later Imperial China”  

This talk will suggest a new way of addressing a universal phenomenon, human dreaming, as it is given aggregate expression during particular historical periods by articulate cultural contributors of those times. The approach is to focus not on what dreams mean, but on how dreams seem, as based in our present knowledge of the sleeping-and-waking human brain. The talk posits that a certain array of common associations of dreaming, which derive from universal experience, proliferate into innumerable dream cultures by refraction through prisms of specific belief systems, written traditions, and enduring socio-political systems. Further, by complex processes of secular change, certain periods exhibit higher degrees of affective resonance with the common associations of dreaming and, thus, generate special flowerings of attention to dreams as well as deployments of dream conceits in the literary and visual arts.

One such period, matched in salience perhaps only by the European Romantic era, was the mid-sixteenth through the seventeenth century in China. The talk will outline and illustrate the primary factors in the generation of an “arc of dreaming” across the late Ming and early Qing scenes.

Lynn Struve is Professor Emerita of History and of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her longstanding, general interests lie in the political, intellectual, and cultural history of the late Ming and early Qing periods in China. In recent years she has focused on the salience of dreams and dreaming in China from the mid-sixteenth through the seventeenth century.


Friday September 14, 2018 12:00 PM
Friday September 14, 2018 01:30 PM
Global and International Studies Building, Room 2067
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East Asian Studies Center
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