On November 7, Sebastian Veg will come to Freiburg to give a lecture with the title “Speaking with the Silent Majority: the Rise of Grassroots Intellectuals.” An abstract:
Whereas, throughout the 20th century, intellectuals in China defined themselves through a posture of responsibility for the affairs of the nation and the state (“taking the world under the heavens as one’s responsibility”), in the last twenty years, positions have become more diverse and more complex. Beginning in the 1990s, intellectuals were no longer exclusively affiliated with state work units, and their income sources became more diverse. Many began to question the “grand narratives” of modernization and democracy, which had cemented the elite consensus over “reform” in the 1980s. Criticizing intellectuals’ traditional elitist bias, they shifted their interests to concrete problems, often associated with people situated not at the center but at the margins of society, famously described by Wang Xiaobo as the “silent majority” or “weak groups” (ruoshi qunti). Some of them began to work for NGOs, or study sensitive topics, or produce documentary films. As the public sphere broadened to include the internet and social media, new forms of interventions appeared, along with alternative spaces. This presentation will attempt to assess the changes that have taken place and to connect them with several theoretical questions related to definitions of the intellectual and of the public sphere
Time: November 7, 18:15.
Place: Erbprinzenstraße 12.