Academic journal spreads Chinese culture

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Benjamin K. Hammer, executive editor of the English version of the Journal of Literature. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A year after President Xi Jinping wrote to the editors of the Journal of Literature, History and Philosophy, Benjamin K. Hammer, executive editor of the journal’s English version, still clearly remembers the contents of the letter and has defined Xi’s expectations as his mission. .

“He called on us to move forward, and especially to advance traditional Chinese culture overseas,” Hammer said, adding that was the mission of the newspaper’s editors in the 21st century.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, wrote to the newspaper in May last year, praising it for making great efforts to spread Chinese culture and develop better academic research. He said high-quality academic journals should stay true to their aspirations, take the lead in innovation, produce high-level research, support the growth of high-caliber academic talent, and promote academic exchanges between China and China. the world.

The Journal of Literature, History, and Philosophy was first published by Shandong University in May 1951 and was the first academic liberal arts journal to be produced by an institute of higher education since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It is now the country’s oldest comprehensive academic journal in the humanities and social sciences. The English version was founded in 2014 to meet the needs of foreign scholars. Hammer was asked to work as an editor because of his extensive and professional knowledge of Chinese.

The 45-year-old demonstrated an interest in Chinese culture while growing up in the United States. He studied Mandarin and Kung Fu as a student at American University in Washington DC.

After graduating, Hammer came to study in China. He received his master’s degree in classical Chinese philology from Shandong University and earned a doctorate in the same field from Peking University. He then returned to SDU, where he now works. “For about 20 years, there has been a tendency for people in schools, organizations and institutions to show great interest in Chinese studies because they want to know more about China, but it is not easy for them to get first-hand material,” Hammer said.

The English version has helped bridge scholars in China and around the world, creating a global platform to exchange ideas. “As more and more people around the world begin to study Chinese, we hope that the dialogue on Chinese studies will not be limited to foreigners and that Chinese scholars will also be widely involved,” he said. , adding that the English version of the journal will be published on a quarterly basis from next year, one issue more than currently.

Big changes have taken place in the province, he said. “But one thing remains: the passion, love and teachings of Confucius and Mencius embodied in the local culture.”

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