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A History of Misunderstanding

Lecture Series: "The Emerging Narrative of China"

April 30, 2008 12:00am

Wen-hsin Yeh, Professor, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM


From my very first visit to China in 1984, I found myself wrestling with a subtle exercise in translation, not so much between English and Chinese, as between Right and Left.  It has been all too easy these days, perhaps, for us to overlook, when interacting with our friends in China, that there is a government and a history under the Chinese Communist Party that operates with assumptions different from Western liberal democracies and yet is proud of what it has accomplished while determined to carry on.  My talk will focus on the “cognitive dissonance” that I’ve experienced and observed in my decades of interaction with China -- all the while searching unfailingly for bettering understanding.

This lecture concludes the OLLI @Berkeley Lecture Series: The Emerging Narrative of China ( and opens the symposium, A Beijing Olympics Primer: Place, Performance, and Performative Space, which will be held on Thursday, May 1 at the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

The series is open to the public for a fee of $10 per lecture. Campus community with a Cal ID, CAA members with a membership card, and OLLI members are free. *Please RSVP to*

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