Origins of Chinese and Mesopotamian History-Writing First Round of the International Academic Online Conversation: 8:00–10:00 PM (Beijing Time)16 Oct. 2021


We are pleased to announce the beginning of an academic conversation series focused on the common and distinctive features in Chinese and Mesopotamian practices of history-writing. In our first conversation, Dr. Yegor Grebnev (BNU Zhuhai / BNU-HKBU United International College) shall discuss how different groups of elites used historical record to promote their collective interests, while Prof. Wang Xianhua (Shanghai International Studies University) shall talk about the Sumerian conception of time and history. The session will be chaired by Professor Tzeki Hon (BNU Zhuhai / BNU-HKBU United International College).


The event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required. To get access to preparatory materials and the link to the VooV / Tencent Meetings event, please sign up at 


Title 1: The ruler, the adviser and the scribe: negotiation of foundational history in early China

Speaker: Dr. Yegor Grebnev (The Research Centre for History and Culture, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai)

Abstract: Through a study of a chapter from the Shang shu 尚书 (Venerated Scriptures) as well as two texts from the recently discovered Tsinghua manuscripts, this talks aims to highlight how history-writing served to promote the interests of different groups of ancient Chinese elites.

Biography of speaker: Dr. Yegor Grebnev received his PhD in Oriental Studies at Oxford University in 2017. He served as a junior Fellow at Merton College, Oxford from 2016 to 2019. From August 2019 to July 2021, he was a Junior Fellow at Southern University of Science and Technology. Currently, he is an associate Distinguished Research Fellow at RCHC.

Title 2: The historian and the Sumerian gods or the Babylonian regime of historicity?

Speaker: Professor Wang Xianhua (Shanghai International Studies University)

Abstract: The Sumerian Idea of History as a topic of research had unfortunately faded away from scholarly attention for several decades. This talk brings up this old question by examining the early Mesopotamian concept of time and history through a comparative lens.

Biography of speaker: Professor Wang Xianhua received his bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in religion from Peking University, and a master's degree in Biblical studies from The Hebrew University of Israel, and a doctor's degree in Assyriology from the University of Cambridge.  He was a professor at the School of History and Culture of Sichuan University, and is now a professor and doctoral supervisor at Shanghai International Studies University. He has written “The Metamorphosis of Enlil in Early Mesopotamia” and many other articles.  

The lectures series is organized by UIC-BNU Research Centre for History and Culture, jointly with the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the Southern University of Science and Technology and the Institute for the Global History of Civilizations at Shanghai International Studies University.