Trinity gears up to celebrate Chinese New Year 2020

Posted on: 20 January 2020

Trinity’s front façade will light up red this weekend to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Rat.

Welcoming the new year, the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies is hosting a series of public talks as part of the Dublin Chinese New Year festival. These lectures will highlight different perspectives of the Chinese culture.

Here is the list of events, all are welcome to attend:

28 January, 6 pm, Neill Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute

Dr Isabella Jackson: A Century of Chinese Children: ‘Little Friends’ in a Changing World

Chinese New Year, like all festivals, is an exciting time for children, or ‘little friends’ as they are called in China. They can expect to receive new clothes and red packets stuffed with money, enjoy a week off school and eat copious amount of delicious food. Children in China today are typically doted on by their families as they are usually the only child and grandchild. But how were children viewed in the past in China and how have political changes affected children? Dr Isabella Jackson will explore the lives of Chinese children over the past century.


3 February, 6 pm, Neill Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute

Dr Ning Jiang: A man with rat-like eyes: how Chinese speakers swear

The Chinese have always felt proud about being descendants of a “land of proper rites and etiquette”, according to the Chinese saying. However, this does not mean the Chinese never fly off the handle. As with any language, a part of the Chinese linguistic repertoire provides access to vulgarism and profanity – the so-called “rude” or “offensive language”. Dr Ning Jiang will introduce a selection of Chinese offensive words, as well as shedding light on their linguistic and cultural background.

5 February, 6 pm, Neill Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute

Peter Hamilton: Chop Suey and Other Inventions: The History of Chinese Overseas

Chinese have migrated overseas for centuries. Chinese labour was essential to the development of many nations, while Chinese merchants have been key intermediaries throughout globalization. In turn, in contrast to ‘perpetual outsider’ stereotypes, overseas Chinese have long mixed with new peoples, blended their cultural traditions, and redefined the meaning of ‘Chinese.’ Peter Hamilton will outline the history of the Chinese diaspora and introduce key examples of Chinese mixing, adaptation, and hybridity abroad.

18 February, 6 pm, Neill Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute

Dr Loughlin Sweeney: From Roscommon to China: Emily de Burgh Daly and Irish Professional Networks in 19th Century East Asia

Emily French, a nurse from a middle-class Roscommon protestant family, embarked for the port city of Ningbo in China in 1888, following her medical training in London. She would remain in China for the next twenty-six years, marrying an Irish doctor, Charles de Burgh Daly, and having two children. Emily was one of many Irish professionals who lived and worked in China in this period, serving the interests of British informal empire in treaty ports, customs posts, and commercial concessions. This talk will reveal the professional world of Irish sojourners in late-Qing era China, and the personal and occupational networks that tied this distant Irish community together and linked it to Ireland. It will draw out the motivations which attracted Irish professionals to China, particularly their self-identification as empire builders, making a claim to Irish imperial nationhood. It will also explore the ways in which an Irish community was sustained, despite its impermanent and highly mobile membership. What emerges from narratives like Emily’s is a novel perspective on Ireland’s positioning and role within the British Empire, and a sense of the importance of imperial connections to late nineteenth century Irish society.


These events are free of charge; please email for more details.

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Harsha Sinha, Internal Communications Officer | |