Manyul and I are occasionally contacted by publishers wondering whether we would like to post a review of a new book on the blog. He and I have discussed this, and would like to let you all know that our policy is: yes, if it is directly on-point for the blog, and if we can find a volunteer who will write the review in a timely fashion. So authors, please feel free to suggest that your publishers contact us in appropriate cases. Thank you!
There will be a conference at the Academia Sinica next week (September 1 and 2) on the reception of Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss in the sinophone world which might be of interest to some readers of this blog.
The Institute of International Education, which administers the Fulbright Program, just announced a new award for Ph.D. students wishing to do research in China, and philosophy is included as one of the disciplines.
The announcement is here: http://www.iie.org/Programs/Confucius-China-Studies-Program
This new program, called the Confucius China Studies Program, is funded by, you guessed it, the Confucius Institute. This could be a great opportunity for anyone wishing to do Ph.D. research in China.
Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy Volume 13, Issue 3, September 2014
A significant new book has been published by Cambridge: philosopher Jiwei Ci‘s Moral China in the Age of Reform. The Amazon link gives on access to some of the book. Here’s what I say on the back cover:
“Jiwei Ci accomplishes two things in his splendid new book. First, he goes beyond the account of his seminal Dalectic of the Chinese Revolution (1994) to explore the causes and effects of the moral crisis that has accompanied China’s three decades of post-Mao reform. Second, he uses this analysis as the foundation for theories of freedom and human agency — theories that are deeply revealing not just of the possibilities and challenges faced by Chinese citizens, but also of the human condition more generally.”
There will be an impressive-looking, interdisciplinary conference next month called “Reading the “Masters”: Contexts, Textual Structures, and Hermeneutic Strategies” held in Brno, Czech Republic. Much more information is available via their website. (I know that Paul already posted about this in the “Reader’s Discussion Topics” area of the blog, but I think that main posts have more visibility (and are included in our Facebook feed), so I am repeating the information here.)
An interesting article examining the CCP’s motives for promoting Confucianism has been published: Shufang Wu, “The Revival of Confucianism and the CCP’s Struggle for Cultural Leadership: a content analysis of the People’s Daily, 2000–2009,” Journal of Contemporary China 23:89 (2014), pp. 971-991. Abstract follows, with the key line in bold.
This is a rich review of Joseph Chan’s important new book; the review is significant, in part, because it represents an engagement by someone from outside the Chinese philosophy world with contemporary Chinese thought. Wall is himself an advocate of perfectionism, which helps to explain why the cross-tradition engagement here is so fruitful.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Joseph Chan, Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times, Princeton University Press, 2014, 256pp., $35.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780691158617.
Reviewed by Steven Wall, University of Arizona
This is an unusual book. It is partly an effort to reconstruct and revive an ancient tradition of political thought, partly an exercise in comparing that tradition to western liberalism and partly a contribution to contemporary political theory. It does not fit into any well-defined disciplinary niche. Its unusual aims, in turn, present a challenge to the reviewer. Should the success of the project be assessed in terms of its fidelity to a tradition of thought that has shaped Chinese culture for over two millennia, or should it be assessed in terms of its contribution to contemporary political thought? No doubt the right answer to this question is that it should be assessed along both dimensions, but this answer does not tell us how much weight to give to each measure of assessment. My own assessment will not grapple with this problem, since I am in no position to gauge its success in remaining faithful to traditional Confucian ideas. Accordingly, this review does not offer a verdict on how well Confucian Perfectionism succeeds in its aim of staying true to Confucian political thought (leaving that judgment to others who are better placed to make it). It focuses instead on how well the view of politics that it presents hangs together and how well it contributes to an understanding of the political topics that it addresses.
David W. Pankenier, Astrology and Cosmology in Early China: Conforming Earth to Heaven
* DATE PUBLISHED: November 2013
* AVAILABILITY: Available
* FORMAT: Hardback
* ISBN: 9781107006720
Over on his blog, The Splintered Mind, Eric Schwitzgebel wonders:
Why Don’t We* Know Our Chinese Philosophy?
(* “we” U.S.-based philosophy professors)
In 2001, I published a piece in the American Philosophical Association’s Newsletter on the Status of Asian & Asian-American Philosophers & Philosophies. In light of my recent reflections about the visibility of non-Western philosophy and philosophers, and especially this remarkable piece from an Asian-American who left philosophy, I thought I’d reproduce a revised version of the essay here. I’ve appended two new substantive notes at the end.
[Read his full post over on Splintered Mind. Discussion comments are welcome there or here.]
The Gongsunlongzi and Other Neglected Texts: Aligning Philosophical and Philological Perspectives
Conference, August 27–29, 2014
Convenors: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Behr, Dr. Lisa Indraccolo, Dr. Rafael Suter
Organization: Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Sinology and URPP Asia and Europe
- Museum Rietberg, Park-Villa Rieter, Lecture Hall, Seestrasse 110, 8002 Zurich (August 27, 2014)
- Room KO2 F-174, University of Zurich, Main Building, Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zurich (August 28–29, 2014)
Registration required – Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gongsunlongzi is one of the few early Chinese received texts dealing with problems of logic and epistemology. Unfortunately, philological inquiries suggest that most probably huge parts were only composed during the Chinese Medieval period (3rd–7th centuries AD). Philosophical studies on the text usually take its authenticity for granted and consider the Gongsunlongzi as if it actually were a Warring States text (453–221 BC). Philological evidence speaking against this widely shared assumption tends to be ignored. Yet, the materials included in the received text are rather heterogeneous and any information about the context or reading instructions are lacking. As a consequence, any interpretation heavily relies on the premises of the reader. A more accurate philological study might not only provide a clearer picture of the process of composition of the Gongsunlongzi and the dating of the different textual layers that compose the text, but might also provide useful information about the context and valuable clues for its interpretation. The workshop aims at bringing together several scholars both in philosophical and philological studies, sharing an interest in the Gongsunlongzi. By contributing their complementary expertise, it is hoped that the workshop will provide ideal conditions for developing a more comprehensive perspective on the text, yielding new insights on the Gongsunlongzi and shedding light on the modalities in which questions of logic and epistemology were addressed in early and medieval China.
Call for Papers
World Philosophies and War
Edited by Bassam Romaya and Eric S. Nelson
(University of Massachusetts Lowell)
Book chapters are solicited for a volume featuring global perspectives in the philosophical analysis of war. We seek papers that examine philosophical themes and perspectives on various aspects of war originating outside of the Western canon. The editors are especially interested in works that depart from or extrapolate upon existing philosophical frameworks (such as the just war tradition, war realism, etc.) commonly examined in Western philosophical literature on war. Prospective contributors may draw upon ancient sources (e.g., Sun Tzu’s Art of War) or contemporary works, literate or oral traditions, and secular or religious/philosophical schools of thought across global traditions. We seek papers that explore competing philosophies of war found in dominant world traditions such as Chinese, Indian, or Muslim, as well as the full range of disparate traditions (e.g., Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, Sikh, Confucian, et cetera) within the more dominate traditions. Submissions that draw from the cultural productions of African, Latin American, Indigenous societies, and other traditions are especially welcome.
Some Zhuangzi in this quote and a bit of Zen at the end:
Bee-eating Wasps… feed their larvae on Hive-bees, whom they catch on the flowers while gathering pollen and honey. If the Wasp who has made a capture feels that her Bee is swollen with honey, she never fails, before stinging her, to squeeze her crop, either on the way or at the entrance of the dwelling, so as to make her disgorge the delicious syrup, which she drinks by licking the tongue which her unfortunate victim, in her death-agony, sticks out of her mouth at full length…. At the moment of some such horrible banquet, I have seen the Wasp, with her prey, seized by the Mantis: the bandit was rifled by another bandit. And here is an awful detail: while the Mantis held her transfixed under the points of the double saw and was already munching her belly, the Wasp continued to lick the honey of her Bee. (J. Henri Fabre, The Insect World of J. Henri Fabre, p. 57)
Whenever I read something from a scientist that so intriguingly echoes a passage from early China, it gets me wondering about the powers of observation in the early writers. Did Zhuangzi spend extended periods of time just observing, as did Fabre? Fabre was a self-taught entomologist in the nineteenth century famous for staking out insects and reporting on their behavior. Although an acute observer, he is not averse to a bit of anthropomorphizing and even has a nice literary appeal (at least in the translation of Alexander Teixeira de Mattos).
Not without shame, I’d like to mention (and thereby promote) a book that I co-edited with Jack Kline, Ritual & Religion in the Xunzi, devoted to interpretations of Xunzi as a religious philosopher. I’ll include a brief description below the fold.
The 19th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP), on the theme “Chinese Philosophy in the Contemporary World (中國哲學與當代世界),” will be held July 21–24, 2015, at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Information on the conference and the Call for Papers can be found below, and also at http://phil.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/iscp.
The full list of 2014-2015 ACLS grants is listed below. Although the competition for many of these grants is fierce, bear in mind that applications related to Chinese philosophy have a bit of a leg up, since they are eligible for funding through the Munro Fund for Chinese Thought, which is now supporting its first grant.
Long-time friend of the blog, Sam Crane, blogs about his recent sit-down interview with Yu Dan, over at his blog, The Useless Tree.
The Association of Chinese Philosophers in North America (ACPA)
Call for Papers and Abstracts
Submission deadline: Sep 10, 2014
Confucianism and Education: An International Symposium October 17-19, 2014 Ramada Hotel and Conference Center, Amherst, NY
Those interested in how traditional Chinese ethical theory may be relevant to contemporary issues of social justice will want to read this series of posts by Donald Munro: http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/07/human-values-corporate-social-impact-case-jpmorgan-chase/
The Confucius China Studies Program provides funding for research in China for current Ph.D. Program. If anyone has any experience with this, please let us know.
Congratulations to Prof. de Bary for this honor.
WASHINGTON (July 22, 2014) — President Barack Obama today announced the ten winners of the 2013 National Humanities Medals, awarded for outstanding achievements in history, cultural studies, filmmaking, cultural commentary, and historic preservation.
The medalists are: literary critic M.H. Abrams; historiansDavid Brion Davis, Darlene Clark Hine, and Anne Firor Scott; East Asian scholar William Theodore de Bary; architect Johnpaul Jones; filmmaker Stanley Nelson; radio hosts Diane Rehm and Krista Tippett; and the historical organization the American Antiquarian Society. The National Humanities Medals will be presented in conjunction with the National Medals of Arts at a White House ceremony on Monday, July 28, 2014.
The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.
More info here.
Read about it here.
Excuse the lack of modesty, but I’d like to announce the publication of my new book, Democracy in Contemporary Confucian Philosophy.
I’ve just become aware of New Frontiers of Asian Scholarship, a resource hosted by the Harvard-Yenching Institute, posting reviews of Asian-language scholarly books. There are a few philosophy books, and a variety of other interesting materials.
Yale-NUS College in Singapore is looking for “one or more open rank faculty members in the fields of comparative political theory or intellectual history. We are particularly interested in candidates working in East Asian political theory.” Please see here for details: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/4173.
The International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy (ISCWP) plans to sponsor one or two panels at next year’s Pacific Division Meeting of APA (American Philosophical Association), which will take place at Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver from April 1 to April 5, 2015. We hereby invite submissions.
Our Goal: We would like to encourage submissions of proposals of individual papers and panels. We encourage papers or panels that promote in-depth engagement between Chinese and Western philosophy. The submissions will be reviewed by all the three members of the board.When we select papers, we normally try to find papers that have common theme to form a panel. You may have a better chance to be accepted if you submit a panel proposal which already has a common theme.
Eligibility: We continue to welcome non-ISCWP members to propose papers to be included on an ISCWP-sponsored panel, or even propose a panel that is related to the ISCWP’s aims, so please feel free to send this notice to philosophers who might be interested even if they are not ISCWP members yet.
Please send all submissions by September 14, 2014.
1. To submit a paper proposal, please provide a 250-300 word abstract. The abstract needs to include the presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, paper title, and email address.
2. To submit a panel proposal, please provide an overall abstract of the panel topic of 250-300 words, including due justification. It must include the following for each chair, speaker, and commentator on your panel:
- name as it is to appear in print
- email address
- paper title and abstract (for presenters)
3. You may submit a partial panel proposal – the earlier the better - and ask for help in filling it out. We may help you build panels based on partial panel proposals received early in the process.
4. The board will review the submissions and announce the result by October 14, 2014. The new board members:
5. Address all submissions and inquires to:
Prof. Guoxiang Peng, Vice-President of ISCWP
email@example.com (There is an underscore between “peng” and “gx”)
India in the Chinese Imagination: Myth, Religion, and Thought
John Kieschnick and Meir Shahar, Editors
The Table of Contents of the latest issue of Frontiers of Philosophy in China is available.
Click here for the Table of Contents of the latest issue of Asian Philosophy.
The Norton Critical Edition of the Analects has just been published. Edited by Michael Nylan, it joins together Nylan’s Introduction, Simon Leys’s translation of the text, and a series of interpretive essays:
- Nicolas Zufferey • On the Ru and Confucius
- Robert Eno • In Search of the Origins of Confucian Traditions in Lu
- Mark Csikszentmihalyi and Tae Hyun Kim • The Formation of the Analects
- Eric L. Hutton • Mencius, Xunzi, and the Legacy of Confucius
- Luke Habberstad • The Sage and His Associates: Kongzi and Disciples across Early Texts
- Julia K. Murray • Visualizing Confucius and His Disciples from the Analects
- Thomas Wilson • Reading the Analects in the Sage’s Courtyard: A Modern Diner’s Guide to an Ancient Feast
- Sébastien Billioud and Vincent Goossaert • Confucius and his Texts: A Century of Crisis and Reinventions
- Yuming He • Talking Back to the Master: Play and Subversion in Entertainment Uses of theAnalects
- Henry Rosemont Jr. • On “New Confucianism”
- Sam Ho • Confucius on Film: Toward a Confucian Aesthetic
The choice of Leys’s translation — which consciously renders the text in modern, accessible language — may make sense in light of the Nylan’s objective in assembling this range of interpretive essays, which collectively “suggest that the Confucius we thought we knew is not the Kongzi of record and that this Kongzi is a protean figure given to rapid change and continual reevaluation.”
Today’s the day for Calls for Proposals from big sinologocial conferences. Here’s the deal for the July, 2015 International Convention of Asian Scholars, to be held in Adelaide, Australia:
There is rarely much philosophy, or even intellectual history, at the annual Association for Asian Studies conference, but here follows the Call for Papers. Anyone interested in organizing a panel on a Chinese-philosophy related theme might want to use the comments section to seek out other interested parties.
Each spring the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) holds a four-day conference devoted to planned programs of scholarly papers, roundtable discussions, workshops, and panel sessions on a wide range of issues in esearch and teaching, and on Asian affairs in general.
The Program Committee is now accepting panel proposals for consideration to present at the 2015 AAS Annual Conference scheduled to take place March 26-29, 2015 in Chicago, IL.
For more information on submitting a proposal, please visit the AAS Call for papers webpage. www.asian-studies.org/Conference/Call-for-Papers.htm
DEADLINE FOR ALL SUBMISSIONS IS AUGUST 7, 2014, 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time.
See the attached announcement in the following link for an explanation of a number of new Fulbright opportunities in Taiwan: for recent graduates, M.A. students, K-12 teachers, post-docs, and seasoned scholars: Fulbright Taiwan.
The Philosophy Program at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is searching for a postdoctoral fellow in a broadly defined field of “Culture and Society: The Value of Traditional Culture in Contemporary Society.” We are looking for a young scholar in Chinese or Asian philosophy who reflects on the contemporary relevance of classic thoughts. Applications are due by July 15, 2014 (11:59pm Singapore Time). Start time negotiable. More information can be found at http://www.hss.ntu.edu.sg/AboutHSS/Pages/Research.aspx or by contacting Li Chenyang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We continue our collaboration with the journal Dao to present featured discussions of a newly published article, available for free download here (link has been fixed). For this edition, Ruth Chang (Rutgers University) has graciously agreed to introduce and share her thoughts about “Comparative Philosophy and the Tertium: Comparing What with What, and in What Respect?” by Ralph Weber (University of Zurich). Ruth Chang’s discussion — and discussion-starter we hope — is here, below. Please feel welcome to join in.
I will be in London next week, and among other things, giving a talk at LSE in the Political Philosophy Seminar series on Tuesday, 24 June at 4pm, in the Old Building, Graham Wallas Room (5th floor; ask for directions at reception). The title is “Neo Confucian ‘Civil Society’?” It’s open to all; please come by if you are interested!
A conference will take place next week in London that may be of interest: “Chinese Ways of Thinking: Imagining the Global” at LSE. All are welcome. Please read on for details!
You are warmly invited to participate in the upcoming short course, ‘Deparochializing Political Theory’, running the day before APSA begins. Details and link below!
To find short course info online: https://www.apsanet.org/mtgs/program_2014/program.cfm?event=1523901
To register: once logged in to myAPSA, click ‘Register for a short course’ in the 2014 APSA Annual Meeting window (SC5)
The Global Contest for the Future of Government (new Foreign Affairs article).
We are pleased to announce that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will host the 18th annual Southeast Early China Roundtable (SEECR) from October 31 to Nov. 2, 2014. In accordance with SEECR tradition, lodging and meals will be provided to presenters.
Journal of Confucian Studies (Chinese Thought and Culture Review)
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has recently approved to launch the Journal of Confucian Studies (Chinese Thought and Culture Review) and the Confucian Academy Press, devoted to the preservation and promotion of traditional Chinese culture. The Journal of Confucian Studies is the world’s only Chinese-English bilingual scholarly journal with the aim of promoting Chinese culture and conducting conversations among world civilizations. The Journal of Confucian Studies will be officially launched on August 1, 2014, at the 24th National Book Expo, co-held by SAPPRFT and People’s Government of Guizhou Province.
Reminder of the following paper to be delivered at the Interdisciplinary Workshop for Manuscript and Text Culture (WMTC) at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford
Please note the change of rooms.
Wednesday 11 June: Maria Khayutina (Munich University): Writing Agents in Early China (ca. 11-8 cc BCE): Secretaries and Makers of Slabs
The latest entry in the New York Times’ Stone column. Discussion welcome!
The June, 2014 issue of Dao has been published; its Table of Contents is here. We expect to continue our new custom of hosting a discussion of one of the articles; more information on that will be forthcoming soon.
A major, three-day conference on China’s “Middle Period” (800-1400) just concluded at Harvard. It featured an unusual format, designed to spur more cross-disciplinary conversation than is usual, as well as to handle the large number of papers and participants who were present. I believe there were something approaching 200 folks there, from graduate students to senior scholars. The titles, abstracts, and a range of on-line comments are all available here: http://www.middleperiodchina2014.org.
An important new book is now available from Indiana University Press:
Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy
Unlike the first two Rutgers Workshops (the speakers at which were all invited), we are adopting a different approach for the third Workshop, which will take place in the spring of 2016 (not 2015). With this amount of lead-time, we are aiming to find scholars whose work in Chinese philosophy engages directly with that of a scholar working in contemporary non-Chinese philosophy, and to build the workshop’s program from such pairs of scholars, in direct conversation with one another. Our expectation is this will enable more substantial two-way philosophical dialogue. Please read the formal Call for Proposals that follows!
Today is June 4, the 25 anniversary of the army crackdown that ended the student-led popular demonstrations in China and left hundreds, if not thousands, dead. If you happen to be in Taipei today, you might be interested in a talk that, though not directly, addresses the question of how to understand and evaluate June 4. David Lorenzo (National Chengchi University, Taiwan) will speak about “Conceptions of Democracy on Taiwan and the Chinese mainland”. The talk will begin at 13.30, in the Department of Philosophy, 70 Linhsi Road, Shihlin, Taipei. The talk is open to the general public.
Komjathy, Louis. 2014. Daoism: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. 250 pages.
According to Lydia Kohn: A different, yet very successful approach to Daoism by topic rather than chronology or lineage, this consists of nine chapters: Tradition, Community, Identity, View, Personhood, Practice, Experience, Place, and Modernity. Highly insightful, meticulously researched, the book is extremely well written and combines a strong historical understanding with a deep involvement in contemporary practice. It opens Daoism in a new and amazing way.
Xiaoqun Xu, Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Individualism in Modern China: The Chenbao Fukan and the New Culture Era, 1918-1928. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. Pp.255. ISBN 978-0-7391-8914-6.
The book analyzes aspects of intellectual life and cultural practices in the New Culture era of modern China by examining an influcential newspaper supplement published in Beijing during 1918-1928, along with other contemporary sources. It highlights a key intellectual-moral paradox in Chinese disourses between cosmopolitanism as an idealistic aspiration and nationalism as a practical imparative, both in complext relationship to indivudialism, and in constant negotiations between Chinese tradition and Western culture in the making of Chinese modernity. It argues for a re-consideration and re-appreciation of the New Culture era in modern Chinese history, as the issues treated in the book remain relevant to China and the world today.
Nothingness in Asian Philosophy – Routledge 2014
by Douglas Berger (editor) & Jeeloo Liu (editor)
From the Description at Amazon:
“A variety of crucial and still most relevant ideas about nothingness or emptiness have gained profound philosophical prominence in the history and development of a number of South and East Asian traditions—including in Buddhism, Daoism, Neo-Confucianism, Hinduism, Korean philosophy, and the Japanese Kyoto School. These traditions share the insight that in order to explain both the great mysteries and mundane facts about our experience, ideas of “nothingness” must play a primary role.”
This should be of interest both to anyone attending the American Political Science Association meetings this coming fall, and also those of us in other fields who might want to try something similar at our own disciplinary meetings. Does the APA ever have such “short courses”? If you have any questions about the course, please contact Professor Browers.
Deparochializing Political Theory: How to Teach Chinese and Islamic/Arab Political Thought
Wednesday August 27, 1:30-5:30pm
APSA Annual Conference, Washington, DC (exact location TBA)
Michaelle L. Browers, Wake Forest University; Loubna El-Amine, Georgetown University
Philosophical Method in Chinese and German Philosophy.
Conference at Akademie für Politische Bildung Tutzing in Cooperation with Gesellschaft für Interkulturelle Philosophie (GIP e.V.), the University of Cologne, and Sihai Confucius Academy, Beiing, from Juli 1st to July 4th.
The new Society for Teaching Comparative Philosophy has a website and is seeking teaching materials (among other things) to share. Check it out!
APA Newsletters, Spring 2014 (Volume 13, Number 2)
Newsletter on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies
From the Guest Editor, “The CAAAPP Year in Review: New Trends in Asian Philosophy and Postcolonial Theory,” Leah Kalmanson
“Expressing Conventional Truths,” Amy Donahue
“Gandhi’s Satyagraha: Reinterpreting Satyakriya (Act of Truth) as a Political Strategy,” Veena Rani Howard
“The Concept of Minjung: Inventing “a People to Come,” Boram Jeong
“Populism, Pueblos, and Plutocracy: Notes on Radical Democracy from Latin America,” Grant Silva
“Announcement on the Society for Teaching Comparative Philosophy,” Sarah Mattice
The American Philosophical Association deadline for committee nominations is MAY 31, 2014. There are a couple of openings on the Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies committee. If you are an APA member and you would like to nominate someone — yourself or someone other than yourself — for the committee, visit this site: https://nominations.apaonline.org/. Note that you must log into the site using your APA online username and password in order to enter a name and select a committee.