Dr. P. (Paul) van Els

Position:
  • Lecturer
Expertise:
  • Chinese philosophy and language


Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2595
E-Mail: p.van.els@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS China
Office Address: Arsenaal
Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number 0.19
Personal Homepage: www.paulvanels.nl


Fields of interest

In times of major social and political turmoil, such as the Warring States Period (403-221 BCE) in China, what solutions do literati offer to restore order in society? What worldviews do they develop? What do they think - for instance - of man's function in society, of war and peace, of self-cultivation? What rhetorical strategies do they employ to persuade others of the validity and importance of their views? --- Questions such as these inspire my research and teaching.

Research

My PhD research focused on the Wenzi, a controversial Chinese politico-philosophical text of the Daoist tradition. I studied the date, authorship, and philosophy of the Wenzi, and analyzed its reception history, with an emphasis on the dramatic change in its evaluation: from an admired authentic work to a worthless forgery.
Subsequently, I worked on early Chinese views on war and peace. This includes, for instance, a study of Mozi’s passionate argumentation “against offensive warfare” and a study of systematic classifications of warfare by several early Chinese thinkers.
Recently, my research focus shifted to rhetoric, as I am trying to understand the rhetorical function of anecdotes in early Chinese argumentative writings.

Curriculum vitae

1993-1999
doctoral student of Chinese Studies at Leiden University, including one year abroad for an intensive Modern Standard Chinese language training at Beijing Language and Cultural University (1995-1996) and one year abroad as an exchange student of Oriental Studies, with Socrates scholarship, at Cambridge University (1997-1998)

1999-2000
post-doctoral exchange student, with Talent scholarship, at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

2000-2006
PhD student, with research grant, at Leiden University

2004-present 
lecturer in Chinese Studies at Leiden University, fully tenured since 2009

Teaching activities

I teach Classical Chinese language courses on all levels (BA, MA) and develop a textbook for Classical Chinese, the first of its kind in Dutch. I also teach courses on Chinese philosophy, history and culture. 

Last Modified: 31-01-2013