Yue Daiyun established the new discipline of comparative literature and comparative culture in the early 1980s when China introduced the household responsibility economic reform. As the world becomes more unstable and the global situation is getting more tense, Yue Daiyun advocates the Chinese philosophy of “cooperation and harmony” as a critique of the increasing unfairness and injustices of globalization, and to protest against unilateralism, wars and violence in the world.
Since adolescence, Professor Yue Daiyun (70) has been a liberal, has cared for grassroots communities and has participated actively in the struggle for social reforms. In the early 1950s she joined the Chinese Language Department at Beijing University as a teacher, being a distinguished young scholar and a founding member and organizer of the Chinese International Youth Peace Alliance. For 23 years she was called a “rightist,” and was subjected to various kinds of social injustice and discrimination. Yet, she kept her optimism and proactive spirit, continuing to study foreign languages and show concern for society even while working as a cleaner. In the early 1980s, Yue Daiyun established the new discipline of comparative literature and comparative culture in Beijing University. Her efforts have led to comparative studies becoming the most vigorous and critical academic discipline in the China of the 1980s. It has been recognized by the State Council as one of the four principle strands of Chinese literature studies. As a result of her endeavors, comparative studies has changed the conservative and closed academic environment. More importantly, the Eurocentric comparative studies scene has been shaken, and a Chinese perspective has now been incorporated. Yue is especially concerned about globalization of economy and technology, and ways in which literature can promote diversification of culture, and communication and understanding of different cultures. She opposes cultural hegemony and annexation. As the world becomes more unstable and tense, Yue advocates the Chinese philosophy of “cooperation and harmony” as a critique of increasing injustices of globalization, and to protest against unilateralism, wars and violence.
Modern Literature and Comparative Literature of Beijing University