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Tianxia Podcast Series

Tianxia (天下)—literally, ‘all under heaven’—is an ancient Chinese concept that has assumed different connotations throughout history. The term broadly refers to ‘the world’ as a whole, including not only the physical space that comprises all the realms of earth, but also a singular—China-focussed—conception of human affairs. Under heaven, and on earth, China is conceived of as being the central gravitational pole that links together, and gives meaning to, the world and everything it contains. In line with the peculiar blend of universality and particularity inherent to this concept, in this podcast we will explore different facets of this China-centric universe through a series of conversations with prominent scholars who have spent their careers investigating the geographical and conceptual frontiers at the outer reaches of the Chinese world. From the Mongolia of Genghis Khan to the Cambodia of Angkor times, from Northeast Asia where empires converge to the new economic powerhouse of Guangdong Province, we will strive to examine the dynamic formation of China’s interactions with its neighbours and the wider world across time, space, and human consciousness.

EPISODE 1: Igor de Rachewiltz

Of Tartar Princesses, Poets, and Great Khans of the Mongols

In this first episode of the Tianxia Podcast Series, we will take you to the Mongolian steppe with renowned Italian Mongolist Igor de Rachewiltz. Among other things, we discuss Igor’s long-term fascination with the East, his family’s connections with the Golden Horde, his relationship with Ezra Pound, and his views of Genghis Khan and of the Mongol Empire at the time of Marco Polo. Read more…

EPISODE 2: Tessa Morris-Suzuki

To The Diamond Mountains and Beyond

In this second episode of the Tianxia Podcast Series, we will take you on a trip through time in the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ of North Korea with Tessa Morris-Suzuki. Tessa is Professor of Japanese History, but she has wide-ranging research interests related to the societies, cultures, and economies of the countries in Northeast Asia. In this episode, we focus on two aspects of her work: firstly we discuss her book To the Diamond Mountains, a travelogue based on a trip undertaken by Tessa in Northeast China, and North and South Korea, following the steps of Emily Kemp, a writer who visited the area back in 1910. Read more