Fourth UK-China Marxist Aesthetics Forum

Posted on 22nd April 2014

New research, writing and ideas on the relationship between East and West will be explored in the fourth UK-China Marxist Aesthetics Forum which takes place at the University of Chester next month.

Scholars from more than 20 leading Chinese universities, including Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the Communication University of China, will attend the Forum – entitled Post-Capitalist Futures? – on April 23 and 24, during which they will discuss topics such as the future of literature, art, culture and society.

Four key themes discussed during the two-day event will be:

  • Western Utopias – or – the new ‘Chinese Dream’
  • Marxism, Confucianism, Secularism and Religion
  • Culture and Economics, or the Economization of Culture
  • Multiculturalism, Cultural Identity and the view of the Other.

Keynote Speakers

Corresponding key note speakers include:

  • Professor Wang Jie, Founder of the Forum and Dean of Humanities at Shanghai Jiaotong University
  • Professor Lu Jiande, Director of the Institute of Literature at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Professor Justin O’Connor, UNESCO Advisor on Creative Industries
  • Professor Neil Lazarus, a leading scholar in Postcolonialism and Cultural Studies, University of Warwick


Dr Haili Ma, Senior Lecture in Chinese Studies with the University of Chester’s Modern Languages Department, said: “China has the fastest growing economy in the world, and although Socialist in name, Capitalism seems to be the unavoidable future for the East.

“However, maybe a new social and economic model could be established somewhere between the concepts of Capitalism and Socialism. Instead of excessive production and consumption, through communication and collaboration amongst all sectors of the community – government, academics, artists and business entrepreneurs across the globe – sustainability and development could be achieved, which would benefit us all.

“Such a model could be the base for the realisation of the 21st-century ‘Chinese Dream’ and the dream of humanity.”

Professor Wang Jie’s No Dreams, No Future paper will tackle one of China’s most topical subjects – Chinese Dreams in the 21st-century. In 2013, Chinese President and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping began to promote the phrase ‘Chinese Dream’.

He describes ‘Chinese Dream’ as to: “dare to dream, work assiduously to fulfil the dreams and contribute to the revitalisation of the nation”. According to the Chinese Communist Party’s theoretical journal Qiushi, the ‘Chinese Dream’ is about the nation’s prosperity, collective effort and socialist achievement.

Professor Wang Jie’s paper supports as well as challenges such a vision, providing the audience with a fuller perception of the ‘Chinese Dream’.

Dr Ma added: “The Forum provides a rare opportunity for participants to meet up with Chinese representatives, to debate scholarly topics as well as to establish education, business and research, collaborations.”

Dr Yang Lan, former Head of Chinese Studies at University of Leeds, and a specialist in Chinese linguistics and literature, added: “Marxist Aesthetics holds a unique position in the history of aesthetics and it has deeply influenced contemporary Chinese literature, art, culture and society. Compared with many academic forums and conferences specifically on literature, art, culture and social studies, this Forum is of more general significance.”

The UK-China Marxist Aesthetics Forum was established in 2011 as a joint research venture by the University of Manchester and Shanghai Jiaotong University, and has since been held at both institutions. This is the first time it has been held in Chester.

Registration for this two-day conference is £80 (or £40 for concessions). The fee includes lunch, refreshments, and a wine reception for the two days of the Forum.

Email Dr Haili Ma at to register.


Forum Schedule

Location: Westminster Building


22nd April Registration

23rd April

9:30 opening speech by Professor Wheeler, the Vice Chancellor of University of Chester

10:00 – 11:00 No Dreams, No Future: On Aesthetics dimension of Chinese Dream, Professor Wang Jie, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China

11:00-11:30 tea break

11:30 – 1:30 panel papers and discussions

1:30 – 2:30 lunch break

2:30 – 3:30 The value of Nothing: Aesthetics, creativity and cultural economy, Professor Justin O’Connor, Monash University, Australia

3:30 – 5:30 panel papers and discussions

7:00 dinner


24th April

10:00 – 11:00 Pagan Aspects in Chinese Literature: with References to Marxism, Professor Lu Jiande, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

11:00 – 11:30 tea break

11:30 – 1:30 panel papers and discussions

1:30 – 2:30 lunch break

2:30-3:30 Into Our Labours: Work and Literary Form in World Literature, Professor Neil Lazarus, Warwick University, UK

3:30 – 4:00 tea break

4:00 – 6:00 panel papers and discussions

7:00 wine reception

7:30 dinner


The registration fee is £80 (£40 for students and concessions). The fee includes lunch, refreshments, and a wine reception for the two days of the Forum. To book your place please follow the link: 

For more information regarding the forum please contact Dr. Haili Ma at