Author Archives: Kai Marchal

Workshop on Yan Fu 嚴復 and Cross-Cultural Political Theory in Taipei

Dear colleagues,

If you happen to be in Taipei this wednesday (March 16), you are welcome to take part in the workshop on “Yan Fu and the Possibilities of Cross-Cultural Political Theory” organized by the International Center for Chinese Philosophy (Soochow University). No need to register: there will be enough seats for everyone!

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Where are all the Confucians in Hong Kong tonight?

Like many of you, I have often been thinking about the relation between liberal democracy  and the Confucian tradition (or better: the traditions of thought claiming to somehow continue the spiritual legacy of Confucius and Mencius). In these hours, that is “as dusk fell on Hong Kong Tuesday evening” (in the words of CNN), thousands of young people are filling the streets of Hong Kong demanding full democracy and the right to elect their own leader.

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June 4 and a Talk on Chinese Democracy in Taipei

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.

Walter Mignolo on non-European thinkers and philosophers

Here is an interesting piece (though dating back to February 2013) by Walter D. Mignolo on the role of Slavoj Žižek in the global market of ideas and an exchange between the philosophers Santiago Zabala and Hambid Dabashi. All pieces have been published on the website of Aljazeera and can be easily retrieved.

I have always been thinking that the discussion on Chinese philosophy needs to take into account the larger debates about Eurocentrism, colonialism, and the very nature of philosophy which have been going on for decades (with thinkers like Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Enrique Dussel, Kwame Appiah, and others). However, quite often, this is at least my impression, scholars working on Chinese philosophy (both in China and in the West) are not willing enough to engage in these debates. In fact, Western scholars working on Chinese philosophy seem to be quite reticent to address these issues which are fiercely debated not in philosophy departments, but rather in departments of comparative literature or sociology. Or is such an impression one-sided? And might this reticency be due to the controversial legacy of Marxism? What do you think?