CEFC Seminar - From the Reinvention of Love to Low Fertility in East Asia?
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Room 3401, Academic Building, HKUST (hybrid via Zoom)

The thematization of romantic love and free marriage as being necessary to the modernization process and to the constitution of autonomous subjects by European 19th-century intellectuals had a major influence on social theory. Outside Europe, it also played an outstanding role in East Asian politics and intellectual debates throughout the 20th-century. Yet, the contemporary persistence and reinvention of matchmaking, the role played by friends or family members as intermediaries, and continuing normative gender roles in East Asian nations should lead us to reevaluate the already-written story of a progressive but irresistible universal transition to forms of love-marriage grounded principally on individual feelings. Based on ethnographic research in Chinese marriage markets and with matchmakers, but also on published studies carried out in other East Asian nations, this conference will examine the theoretical significance of the dynamics of love in contemporary East Asia, and its contemporary link to the drop of marriage rate and fertility issues.


Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pettier 

Jean-Baptiste Pettier is professor for the Anthropology of East Asia at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Germany. He is a social anthropologist with a broad interdisciplinary background in the social sciences and a specialization in Chinese society. His work focuses on moral sentiments, ethics, and morality, in both inter-personal and human-nonhuman relationships, and how they relate to historical, political and economic conditions. His long-term research field sites are based in China and in Madagascar. In the context of the Research Group on China(s) of the German Anthropological Association, he also co-organizes a research network examining reflexively the co-construction of the anthropology of the Chinese worlds. His most recent articles were published in Qualitative StudiesSocial Analysis, and Comparative Studies in Society and History.

Room 3401, Academic Building, HKUST (hybrid via Zoom)
Speakers / Performers:
Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pettier
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Germany
The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC)