Category Archives: Profession

Univ. of Newcastle (Australia) to abolish Philosophy Major

Disturbing news from a colleague in Australia:

This is Yin Gao from the University of Newcastle, Australia. I have been teaching Chinese philosophy in this institution for over 15 years. I am afraid I have a rather bad news. My school decided to abolish philosophy major:
http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4905905/philosophy-classics-cuts-would-mark-uni-demise-union/
I wonder if you would announce the news here. My colleagues and I are dismayed by this decision. Currently, this proposed change is still under consultation. Any support from anyone would be much appreciated. They can send their comment to the following link:
Ruth.Hartmann@newcastle.edu.au or email me at my email as listed here.
UoN receive submission until Friday the 22nd of Sept [updated]. However, any comment after this date would still means a lot to us.

WWWOPY Follow-Up: Please share your ideas

Some of you may remember that Hagop Sarkissian and I announced a while back a plan to acknowledge top papers on Chinese philosophy (journal articles and anthology chapters) via something we called the WWWOPY (Warp, Weft, and Way Outstanding Papers of the Year). Following the announced procedure, we wrote to a wide range of research-active colleagues (both junior and senior, and of various methodological and theoretical backgrounds) to solicit nominations. However, we received zero replies with nominations. So we are re-thinking our idea.

We subsequently wrote again to the same set of twenty-four colleagues, telling them what happened and asking (1) whether they thought this was a good idea, and (2) whether they had suggestions to make it work better. This time almost everyone replied, but there was little consensus. In reflecting on all the feedback, we did conclude that especially in a growing field with an increasing number of new voices, finding a way to call attention to particularly valuable, recent, article-length work still seems like a good idea. Many people told us that they did not keep regular tabs on this kind of new work, only digging in when they began a new project. But this means that too many people may be missing ideas that should prompt new or different kinds of research projects in the first place, among other consequences.

However we are a bit stymied about how to proceed, and so decided to open this topic up for general discussion. It is hard to find an approach that seems likely to be both useful and practical. Please share your thoughts!

Olberding: “Degenerate Skepticism and the Thieves of Philosophy”

Amy Olberding has published an essay called “Degenerate Skepticism and the Thieves of Philosophy” on the “Department of Deviance” website. She explains the essay’s origin:

An essay presented at a special APA session on what Chinese philosophy can contribute to contemporary philosophy. There are increasingly many sessions at APA meetings pitched to offer the non-specialist an entry into “non-western” philosophy. Rarely are these attended by anyone who is not already a specialist in “non-western” philosophy. The essay here is not about how Chinese philosophy can contribute to contemporary debate. It is instead a polemic about the folly of this question in the current atmosphere within the discipline.

Chinese Philosophy to Return to Michigan

I am thrilled to be able to share the news that, thanks in part to a gift from Don and Ann Munro, the University of Michigan will be re-establishing a tenure-track line in Chinese philosophy, to be housed jointly in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the Department of Philosophy. The support that the Munros have shown for the study of Chinese philosophy—in addition to Don’s distinguished career, the Munros have established the Tang Junyi Lecture Series at UM, the Munro Fund at the ACLS, and now this—is truly exemplary. Full text of the announcement follows.

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Publishing on the History of Chinese Philosophy

The recent discussion of the scope of “philosophy” reminded me of Amy Olberding’s excellent idea that those of us with tenure, at least, should make a point of endeavoring to publish in “general” philosophy journals, at least some of the time. (Just to be clear: this is no criticsm of existing journals focused on Chinese or comparative philosophy!) I am finishing up an essay on how to understand (and translate) tian in the context of Neo-Confucianism, and thought that it might make sense to try submitting it to a general history of philosophy journal. Which to choose? I decided to do a little research. I was pretty sure that Brian Leiter’s blog would have some sort of ranking of such journals, and sure enough, it does (from 2010). What surprised me was what I found when I started looking at the journals’ websites.

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Another Round on Chinese Thought as Philosophy

In case you missed it, Nicholas Tampio recently published a short piece in Aeon explaining why he thinks Confucius (among other non-Western thinkers) should not be regarded as a philosopher, with implications for the philosophy curriculum and the makeup of philosophy faculties. This is a response to the recent New York Times piece by Jay Garfield and Bryan Van Norden.  Tampio and Van Norden subsequently exchanged tweets on the topic. Amy Olberding replies thoroughly and with humor here, and Ethan Mills responds on behalf of Indian philosophy here.

Where to begin?

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Journal Rankings

I am not sure what exactly to make of this data, which is based on a ranking system that may make ore sense for the sciences than for the humanities, but here is the latest ranking of philosophy journals, based on rates of citation over the last three years. This certainly is not the only measure of journal quality, but perhaps something worth taking into account.

Wm. Theodore de Bary awarded the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology

The University Committee on Asia & the Middle East (UCAME) is pleased to share the great news that the Tang Prize Committee, in a press conference from Taiwan earlier today, announced William Theodore de Bary, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, the sole recipient of the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology for his “pioneering contributions in Confucian studies.”  Founded in 2012 by Samuel Yin who was inspired by the Nobel Prize, the award includes a cash prize of US$1.24 million, as well as a separate grant of approx. US$311,000 for awardees in each of its four categories: Sinology, Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, and Rule of Law.  The inaugural winner of the Tang Prize in 2014 was Prof. Yu Ying-shih.  This year’s award ceremony will take place in Taipei on September 25.

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Behuniak on Van Norden on Chinese Philosophy

The following is a guest post by Jim Behuniak of Colby College. Please address any comments to Jim!

Van Norden on Chinese Philosophy in the U.S.

The recently concluded 11th East-West Philosopher’s Conference in Honolulu featured a number of sessions on the “place” of non-Western philosophy in the academy. Excellent presentations by Carine Defoort, Tao Jiang, Amy Olberding, Brian Bruya, and others, along with questions and discussion by Steve Angle, Roger Ames, Cheng Chung-ying and many others, brought the issue empirically and conceptually into focus over the ten days. This has me reflecting on Bryan Van Norden’s recent promotions of Chinese philosophy in the United States.

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