Nankai Celebrity Lecture: Prof. Qiao Guoqiang on the “Beat Generation Literature”

June 28th, Nankai University’s College of Foreign Languages invited Prof. Qiao Guoqiang to give a lecture on the “Beat Generation Literature” during the activity “Nankai Celebrity Lecture”. Prof. Qiao is a Yangtze River Scholar Professor, Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at Shanghai International Studies University’s School of English Studies, and Visiting Professor of Nankai University’s College of Foreign Languages. The Yangtze River Scholars Program, formerly named Cheung Kong Scholars Program, is regarded as one of the top academic awards inside Chinese higher education. It was jointly set by the Ministry of Education and the Li Ka Shing Foundation of Hong Kong in 1998, in order to attract and cultivate Chinese colleges and universities’ academic leaders. This has been the second time Prof. Qiao Guoqiang visited Nankai University. He introduced the Beat Generation literature and its famous writers, sharing his points of view on related academic studies.

Prof. Qiao’s started the lecture by defining the period of the Beat Generation. Using many pictures and a simple but vivid language, Prof. Qiao presented the cultural context of post 1945 American society, explaining literature and social situation of the period of the Beat Generation. To better elaborate the topic, he introduced two questions about the Beat Generation: the first one was about movement’s sociality, while the other question was whether protofeminism and female writers’ works belong to the literary genre or not.

Before the detailed discussion about the literature produced by the movement, Prof. Qiao explained the context and the problems that shaped the Beat Generation. The contents covered not only literature, but also historical and social important issues, comprehensively showing the formation of the Beat Generation. 

After a general introduction of the background, Prof. Qiao started the second part: Beat Generation’s literature and writers. During this part, he talked about movement’s characteristics, works, and Beat writers’ life stories. Using a vivid language, he brought the audience back to 1945. He also pointed out that there still are many areas waiting to be studied.

In addition to the literature of the Beat Generation, Prof. Qiao also clarified the definition of the word “avant-garde”, to better compare avant-garde and Beat Generation. He made a direct challenge to several definitions written by important authorities by naming several national and international literary works. He encouraged the audience to question the definitions, and to study the works making reference to specific conditions.

During the Q&A session, teachers and students actively asked questions on different topics, and Prof. Qiao had an answer for all the queries.

The lecture was organized by the College of Foreign Languages and was hosted by Prof. Liu Ying.  Prof. Ma Hongqi, Assistant to the Dean of the College, teachers from all the departments and other universities, and the students of the College of Foreign Languages attended the lecture. Prof. Ma highly praised the lecture, and expressed his gratitude towards Prof. Qiao, hoping that the important scholar would visit again Nankai University in the future. He also encouraged the students to learn from Prof. Qiao’s wide knowledge, and to search for more perspectives while making academic researches and projects. 

Reported by Shi Yuchen
Photograph by Liu Ying
Proofread by Letizia Vallini

Nankai University

No.38 Tongyan Road, Jinnan District, Tianjin , P.R. China 300350

No.94 Weijin Road,  Nankai District, Tianjin, P.R.China  300071