Opening Ceremony of IWLCCenter for Advanced Studies in World Culturesof Tsinghua University and Martin Puchner’s Lecture for Tsinghua Forum-IWLC Series Held

On September 11, the opening ceremony for the Center for Advanced Studies in World Cultures and the fifth lecture of Tsinghua Forum-IWLCSeries were held at the FIT building. XIE Weihe, Vice Chairperson of University Council, LI Junfeng, Vice Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Dean of Academic Affairs Office, Martin PUCHNER, the Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University,and YAN Haiping, Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Dean of the Institute for World Literatures and Cultures (IWLC) attended the ceremony.

Other guests attending the ceremony included ZENG Jinsong, Secretary General of the Institute of Global Development of Tsinghua University, YIN Xiong, founder of Longbei Foundation, LI Tianqi, founder of Beijing Xinkang Foundation, members of the Joint Academic and Party Committeesof the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and membersof the Secretariat of China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education.

After the opening ceremony, Martin Puchner gave the lecture entitled “The Story of Literature, from Tablet to the Internet.” He demonstrated how writing technologies and media of different kindsenabled the development of literature and its worldwide transmissionthrough different stages, from clay tablet, paper, print, to Internet. He pointed out that story-tellingis vital for the inheritance of civilizations, and when story-telling is combined with writing technology, it will profoundly influence human history. In the age of Internet and smart phones, ourform and experience ofstory-telling has been radically transformed and enriched.

Puchner is Byron and Anita Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and member of the European Academy.HisNorton Anthology of World Literature is widely used as textbook by universities in English-speaking countries. His HarvardX online course brings 4,000 years of world literature to students worldwide. In his capacity as the Head of Mellon School for Theatre and Performance Research, he has signed MOU withIWLC to jointly advocate and support the advanced studies in world cultures and cross-cultural education in humanities.