Most continents are rich in post-imperial situations, within written history for many centuries and even longer. In the 20th century, the post-imperial conditions have a global outreach, because the dwindling empires of this century were born during the European colonial expansion after Columbus. The European, and Western, notion of progress and human power to shape history at will make the disappearance of an empire a fall, due to human errors, not a regular detour towards reemergence. The fall or fading away of an empire is not just an event with a precise date, but a process which, inevitably, shows cracks before it actually happens and entangles the pre-imperial and the post-imperial conditions in each other. How to imagine the change, important for our present historical situation, as cultural issue involving cultural identities is the topic of my lecture. My lecture will concentrate on two such imaginative post-imperial prefigurations before the fall actually occurs and recognized by its citizens. One such prefiguration is seen through the eyes of the colonizers, J.M. Foster’s A Passage to India (1927), the other is seen through the eyes of the colonized, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1957).
Imperial Identities. A Cultural Problem in a Globalized World
Svend Erik Larsen教授是丹麦奥胡斯大学比较文学荣休教授，欧洲科学院副院长、文学部主席，并担任国际知名学术期刊Orbis Litterarum的主编。他的研究主要关注文学和文化史、思想史、符号学、记忆研究、世界文学等。Svend Erik Larsen教授著作丰硕，包括300多篇学术论文，其代表作有Sémiologie littéraire (1984)，Signs in Use: An Introduction to Semiotics (2002, with J. D. Johansen), Literature and the Experience of Globalization: Texts Without Borders(2017), Interdisciplinarity, History and Cultural Encounters(2016), Literary Studies Across Cultures: A Chinese-European Dialogue，等等。