Trude Dijkstra, ASH PhD candidate, will defend the dissertation entitled 'The Chinese Imprint. Printing and Publishing Chinese Religion and Philosophy in the Dutch Republic, 1595-1700' supervised by Prof. Lia van Gemert and Prof. Thijs Weststeijn.
The Chinese Imprint discusses how Chinese religion and philosophy were represented in printwork created in the Dutch Republic between 1595 and 1700. Focusing on a variety of printed media, this study sheds new light on the representations of an often contentious subject matter to readers, and the publishing strategies of the producers. To this end, form, content, and material-technical aspects of various text types in Dutch and French are analysed to gain insights into the ways in which an early modern public of readers - who were very much divided on religious, political, economic, and linguistic fronts - could take note of Chinese religion and philosophy. Furthermore, this analysis reveals the ways this knowledge was embedded into seventeenth-century Dutch perceptions of themselves and the foreign world.
Interpretations and understandings of Chinese religion and philosophy were the result of processes of textual transmission in which producers played a fundamental role. This study thereby assesses the importance of authors, translators, printers, publishers, editors, illustrators, and booksellers in shaping the cultural consumption of China. As such, this dissertation proves that there was no singular image of Chinese religion and philosophy, but rather a varied array of notions on the subject. Perceptions differed according to type and aim of publication, in addition to a variety of motives and considerations related to the cultural, political, religious, and economic background of the producers.