Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

Latest Contemp. Chinese Thought, on Christian Thought

The latest issue (47:4) of Contemporary Chinese Thought is available here; it is titled “Five Voices in Chinese Christian Thought.” Other recent issues are available through that same link, including:

  • 47:3: Max Ko-wu Huang on the Translation of Democracy during the Transitional Period of Modern China (1895-1925)
  • 47:2: Chinese Academic Views on Shang Yang Since the Open-Up-and-Reform Era
  • 47:1: Recent Additions to the New Qing History Debate

February 8, 2017 Posted by | China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Religion, Tables of Contents | no comments

AAR Panels on East Asian traditions

Keith Knapp has compiled a very helpful list of AAR panels of interest to scholars of Confucianism, which I share here. The AAR Annual Meeting takes place in San Antonio, Texas starting on Nov. 19. Continue reading “AAR Panels on East Asian traditions”

November 17, 2016 Posted by | Buddhism, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Conference, Confucianism, Religion | no comments

Special Journal Issue on Tradition, Ritual, and Heaven

Special Issue of the European Journal For Philosophy of Religion: Tradition, Ritual, and Heaven in East Asian Religious Philosophy

Guest Editor: Philip J. Ivanhoe

http://www.akademospress.com/?layout=blog&id=417

Continue reading “Special Journal Issue on Tradition, Ritual, and Heaven”

May 4, 2016 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Religion, Ritual | no comments

New Book: Traces of the Sage

James A. Flath, Traces of the Sage: Monument, Materiality, and the First Temple of Confucius, Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press, 2016. 

Traces of the Sage is a comprehensive account of the history and material culture of the Temple of Confucius (Kong Temple) in Qufu, Shandong.

Continue reading “New Book: Traces of the Sage”

May 2, 2016 Posted by | Books of Interest, China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Confucius, Religion | no comments

Ruist Retreat in Boston

Bin Song, a graduate student at BU, writes:

We Boston Ruists will host a Ruist retreat this summer, July 1-3rd, at Boston University. Attached is the schedule, including all details of the retreat and logistics. 

The initiative of this retreat was proposed by some friends in the Facebook group ‘Friends from Afar: a Confucianism group.’ I hope the retreat can be organized as a ‘middle’ sort of Ruism, aiming to propagate Ruist wisdom among ordinary American people but still not losing its scholarly virtuosity.  

Anyone interested in learning more about the retreat, or in registering, should contact Bin Song (the information is on the attachment). Comments on this undertaking are of course welcome here.

April 21, 2016 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Religion, Ritual | no comments

CFP: AAR Confucian Traditions Group

Confucian Traditions Group

Statement of Purpose:
This Group is committed to the study of the diversity of religious traditions associated with Confucius and his followers, including areas where Confucian thought and practice intersect with those of other traditions. The Group embraces historical, philosophical, and dialogical approaches, and is not located in any single country or discipline.

Call for Papers:
This Group invites proposals concerning any aspect of Confucianism from any geographical area in any historical field with any methodological orientation.

For more details, including topics of particular interest and whom to contact, please see this webpage.

January 27, 2016 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Religion | no comments

Bin Song Blogging at Huff Post

Bin Song, who holds a PhD in Western philosophy from Nankai University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Religious Studies at Boston University, has begun a series of blog posts in the Huffington Post under the general title, “A Catechism of Confucianism.” As he explains there, “as a Buddhist-Christian Confucian, the primary focus of Bin Song’s spiritual and academic life is to increase the relevance of traditional Confucianism to the contemporary global human society through a on-going dialogue with ordinary people, a variety of philosophical traditions, and non-Confucian world religions.”

December 23, 2015 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Related Blog Discussions, Religion | no comments

New Book on Zhu Xi and Aquinas

SUNY Press has published Catherine Hudak Klancer’s new book, Embracing Our Complexity: Thomas Aquinas and Zhu Xi on Power and the Common Good. Congratulations, Catherine!

September 3, 2015 Posted by | Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Neo-Confucianism, Religion, Zhu Xi | no comments

Job at Northwestern

Northwestern University is looking for an assistant professor of East Asian Religions, presumably a replacement for Brook Ziporyn, now at The University of Chicago Divinity School. More details here.

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Job Opening, Religion | no comments

2015 AAR CFP

The Call for papers for the next annual meeting of the AAR has just been published. The meeting will be held in Atlanta.  The Confucian Traditions Group leadership would love to see you there.  Here is the Call for papers for the group:
Continue reading “2015 AAR CFP”

January 29, 2015 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Religion | 2 comments

Sun’s Confucianism as a World Religion wins multiple awards

Anna Sun’s book Confucianism as a World Religion has won two major awards:

  • 2014 Best Book Award, Sociology of Religion Section of the American Sociological Association
  • 2014 Best First Book in the History of Religions Award, American Academy of Religion

Congratulations, Anna!

November 23, 2014 Posted by | Books of Interest, Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Religion | no comments

New Book: Ritual & Religion in the Xunzi

Kline and Tiwald_9781438451954.indd   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.

Continue reading “New Book: Ritual & Religion in the Xunzi”

August 4, 2014 Posted by | Books of Interest, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Religion, Ritual, Xunzi | 5 comments

Malik’s Piece on Buddhism and Bigotry in the NYT

I thought this was interesting, though Malik clearly undermines his own implied connection between Buddhism and the bigotry late in the article. Worth a quick read perhaps? Here’s a little bit to get you started:

There is perhaps no religion that Western liberals find more appealing than Buddhism. Politicians fawn over the Dalai Lama, celebrities seek out Buddhist meditation, and scientists and philosophers insist that Buddhism has much to teach us about human nature and psychology.

Even some of the so-called New Atheists have fallen for Buddhism’s allure. For most of its Western sympathizers, Buddhism is a deeply humanist outlook, less a religion than a philosophy, a way of life to create peace and harmony.

The Rohingya people of Myanmar take a very different view of Buddhism. The Rohingya are Muslims who live mostly in Rakhine, in western Myanmar, bordering Bangladesh. Early Muslim settlements there date from the seventh century. Today, in a nation that is 90 percent Buddhist, there are some eight million Muslims, of whom about one in six is Rohingya.

For the Myanmar government, however, the Rohingya simply do not exist…

May 20, 2014 Posted by | Buddhism, In the News, Politics, Religion | 7 comments

Making Philosophy of Religion Less Parochial

Every Spring I teach a course on Philosophy of Religion, a subject that, though not my area of expertise, I enjoy teaching because it attracts a passionate and diverse group of students.

Still, it gets to me every time that the religion in Philosophy of Religion is limited to Western monotheistic traditions. Continue reading “Making Philosophy of Religion Less Parochial”

May 6, 2014 Posted by | Buddhism, Religion | 12 comments

Lecture series on Matteo Ricci at St. Louis University

St. Louis University has announced an extended lecture series on Matteo Ricci, with the the first talks coming this month. The first two lectures will be delivered by Nicholas Standaert:

“The Spiritual Exercises in China: Displacement and Encounters in Visual Meditation”
             Thursday, April 10, 2014
              7:00pm
             Loyola Room, Jesuit Hall
             Saint Louis University
 
Inaugural Lecture:   “The Jesuits Shaped by the Chinese: The Case of Matteo Ricci”
            Friday, April 11, 2014
            3:15pm
            Sinquefield State Room, DuBourg Hall
            Saint Louis University
            Reception to follow

April 2, 2014 Posted by | China, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Religion | no comments

NY Times – Tibetan Buddhist Texts in Chengdu, China

The New York Times just published an excellent piece on E. Gene Smith’s collection of Tibetan Buddhist texts and their new home in Chengdu, China. The texts are housed in a new library bearing Smith’s name at Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu.

Continue reading “NY Times – Tibetan Buddhist Texts in Chengdu, China”

February 19, 2014 Posted by | Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, In the News, Religion | no comments

CFP: Confucian Secularism

Prof. Albert Welter is looking to organize an AAR panel on Confucian Secularism. Please contact him if you are interested.

Continue reading “CFP: Confucian Secularism”

February 9, 2014 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Confucianism, Religion | 17 comments

Panels at the 2013 AAR Meeting

There will be a number of panels focusing on Chinese and comparative philosophy at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in Baltimore, MD, beginning this weekend, Saturday, November 23rd, and running through Tuesday, November 26th.  For more information on specifics, see the AAR meeting website: http://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/general-information

The following are panels that I thought might be of interest to readers of this blog (these are just the ones I know of- if any of you know of others that may be of interest, feel free to add them in the comments line): Continue reading “Panels at the 2013 AAR Meeting”

November 18, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Comparative philosophy, Conference, Indian Philosophy, Religion | 2 comments

Visiting Position, East Asian Religions

Kenyon College, a highly selective liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio, seeks applications for a one-year position teaching East Asian Religions in the Religious Studies Department for the academic year 2014-15.

Continue reading “Visiting Position, East Asian Religions”

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Buddhism, Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Job Opening, Religion | no comments

East Asian Religions Job

The DAVIDSON COLLEGE Department of Religion invites applications for a
full-time, tenure-track position in Religions of East Asia, to begin
August 1, 2014. Qualifications for this position include a Ph.D., an
ability to teach introductory and advanced courses in the religions of
East Asia, familiarity with the methods and perspectives of religious
studies, and willingness to participate in interdisciplinary ventures
of the department and college.

Continue reading “East Asian Religions Job”

October 2, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Job Opening, Religion | no comments

Graduate Programs at Indiana University

With graduate school applications due in the next few months, I’d like to put a plug in for our MA and PhD programs here at Indiana University. In particular we are looking for students interested in early Confucian thought (roughly the 6th century BCE through the 3rd century CE). Continue reading “Graduate Programs at Indiana University”

September 27, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Graduate study, Profession, Programs of Study, Religion | no comments

Confucian Religion Leaders Summit 2013

I recently received an invitation to attend — as an observer — the following event. Alas, I won’t be able to get myself to Jakarta for it, but I thought that blog readers might be interested to know that there is such an event. I will paste a little information here, and I also attach this longer document with some further details. I do not believe it is open to the public.

Continue reading “Confucian Religion Leaders Summit 2013”

August 9, 2013 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Conference, Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Religion | one comment

New Book: Anna Sun, Confucianism as a World Religion

Sun_coverExciting news: Anna Sun (Kenyon College)’s book on Confucianism has been published. Congratulations!

Confucianism as a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities

Anna Sun

Princeton University Press | Cloth | 2013 | $35.00 / £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691155579 | 266 pp. | 6 x 9 | 1 line illus. 9 tables

Is Confucianism a religion? If so, why do most Chinese think it isn’t? From ancient Confucian temples, to nineteenth-century archives, to the testimony of people interviewed by the author throughout China over a period of more than a decade, this book traces the birth and growth of the idea of Confucianism as a world religion.

The book begins at Oxford, in the late nineteenth century, when Friedrich Max Müller and James Legge classified Confucianism as a world religion in the new discourse of “world religions” and the emerging discipline of comparative religion. Anna Sun shows how that decisive moment continues to influence the understanding of Confucianism in the contemporary world, not only in the West but also in China, where the politics of Confucianism has become important to the present regime in a time of transition. Contested histories of Confucianism are vital signs of social and political change.Is Confucianism a religion? If so, why do most Chinese think it isn’t? From ancient Confucian temples, to nineteenth-century archives, to the testimony of people interviewed by the author throughout China over a period of more than a decade, this book traces the birth and growth of the idea of Confucianism as a world religion.

Continue reading “New Book: Anna Sun, Confucianism as a World Religion”

April 6, 2013 Posted by | Books of Interest, Confucianism, Religion | 3 comments

Karen Turner Lecture at Harvard next Friday

Friday, April 5, 2013, 12:00 p.m.
Harvard East Asian Legal Studies Seminar
Weber’s Distortions of Chinese Law and Religion: A Reassessment of a Lasting Legacy
Karen Turner, Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross
The Morgan Courtroom, Austin Hall Room 308

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Law, Lecture, Religion | no comments

AAR “Religions in Chinese and Indian Cultures” Group CFP: Emotions

Dear colleagues,

AAR CFP deadline (March 1) is fast approaching. Here is the CFP of our group:

“This Group wishes to explore the various representations of emotions
within the Chinese and Indian religious traditions — particularly
engaging textually with both Chinese and Indian materials. We
especially encourage presentations by a specialist in one tradition to
engage a text from the other tradition….

Continue reading “AAR “Religions in Chinese and Indian Cultures” Group CFP: Emotions”

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Emotions, Indian Philosophy, Religion | one comment

2013 Woodenfish Monastic Life Program

2013 Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program (www.woodenfish.org/hbmlp)

DATE: July 4-July 31, 2013

VENUE: Ayuwang Temple, Ningbo, China

(see: http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/china/ningbo/ayuwang.php)

DEADLINE OF APPLICATION: May 15th, 2013 (on rolling basis)

ELIGIBILITY: Undergraduates and graduates.

Continue reading “2013 Woodenfish Monastic Life Program”

February 17, 2013 Posted by | Buddhism, Opportunities, Religion | no comments

Reminder: AAR Confucian Traditions Group CFP

Confucian Traditions
Call for Proposals

This Group invites proposals concerning any aspect of Confucianism from any geographical area. Topics of particular interest this coming year are:

  • Confucianism, death, and after
  • For a possible cosponsored session with the Buddhism Section, connections between Confucianism and Buddhism
  • Archaeological discoveries and Confucian texts
  • Contemporary representations of Confucianism, postmodern Confucianism, and/or Confucius institutes
  • Roles and agency in Confucianism
  • Feelings and emotions

Continue reading “Reminder: AAR Confucian Traditions Group CFP”

February 11, 2013 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Confucianism, Religion | no comments

Job in Confucian Religious Studies

Assistant Professor/Faculty Position in Sogang University, South Korea

The Department of Religious Studies at Sogang University, the Jesuit University in Seoul, South Korea,, invites applications for a full-time, tenure track faculty position in Chinese/Korean religions (centered on Confucianism) at the assistant/associate professor rank, to begin in fall 2013. The Ph.D. must bein hand by time of appointment.

Continue reading “Job in Confucian Religious Studies”

February 5, 2013 Posted by | Confucianism, Job Opening, Korea, Religion | no comments

CFP From AAR Confucian Traditions Group

The Confucian Traditions Group of the AAR invites proposals concerning any aspect of Confucianism from any geographical area. Topics of particular interest this coming year are:

  • Confucianism, death, and after
  • Confucian interaction with Buddhism
  • archaeological discoveries and Confucian texts
  • contemporary representations of Confucianism, post-modern Confucianism, and/or Confucius Institutes
  • roles and agency in Confucianism
  • feelings and emotions

Proposals for a panel with a well-conceived theme and structure stand the strongest chance of acceptance, whereas proposals for an individual paper do not.

Continue reading “CFP From AAR Confucian Traditions Group”

November 24, 2012 Posted by | Buddhism, Call for Papers (CFP), Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Emotions, Excavated Texts, Religion | no comments

Panels at the Upcoming AAR Conference

Here is an update from Thomas Wilson concerning the American Academy of Religion conference that will be held this weekend:

Please note the two panels sponsored by the Confucian Traditions Group. We especially encourage you to attend the business meeting following the Saturday afternoon session (A17-316). We’ve also listed a few other panels that might be of interest to you.
Continue reading “Panels at the Upcoming AAR Conference”

November 13, 2012 Posted by | Conference, Confucianism, Daoism, Religion | no comments

Assistant Professor Position in Sogang University, South Korea

The Department of Religious Studies at Sogang University, the Jesuit University in Seoul, South Korea, invites applications for a full-time, tenure track faculty position in ‘Chinese religions’ (centered on Confucianism) at the assistant/associate professor rank, to begin in fall 2013. The Ph.D. must be in hand by time of appointment.

The ideal candidate is expected to have a background in religious studies, specializing in the study of Chinese religions (centered on Confucianism). The candidate must be able to work with classical Chinese, and fluent in (spoken and written) Korean and English so as to conduct academic works of teaching and publication in both languages.

Application process will begin with online application at Sogang University toward the end of February 2013 (as of November 13, 2012, it does not appear that the application is open yet). Inquiries and nominations can be sent by e-mail to the chair of the Religious Studies Department, at <pgpak@sogang.ac.kr>.

November 13, 2012 Posted by | Confucianism, Job Opening, Religion | no comments

New Book on the "Invention of Religion in Japan"

A fascinating-looking new book is relevant to some discussions we’ve had here in the past about Confucianism and other Chinese traditions and, or as, “religion”: JASON JOSEPHSON, The Invention of Religion in Japan (Chicago, 2012). Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

In 1853, the Japanese were required to consider what the word religion meant when western powers compelled the Tokugawa government to ensure freedom of religion to Christian missionaries. The challenge this request posed was based on the fact that prior to the nineteenth century Japanese language had no parallel terminology for the category of religion. In The Invention of Religion in Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2012), Jason Ānanda Josephson, Assistant Professor of Religion at Williams College, delineates a genealogy of the Japanese construction of the category of religion, which was catalyzed by this political encounter between East and West. Josephson argues that opposed to the common notion that religion is an ethnographic or academic creation that we can place religion through diplomatic and legal discourses that invent or manufacture an identifiable, yet elastic, category. Prior to this political demand, contact between different Japanese and western social groups were discussed in bilateral descriptions of orthodoxy and heresy, either from a Christian or Buddhist perspective. Added to this developing understanding of terminology were the influences of western science, the negotiation of local practices, and the rise of nationalism. The Japanese depiction of Shinto poses the greatest challenge to customary notions of religion because it is described as a national or political science that is markedly nonreligious. Overall, Josephson demonstrates that in the defining of legal and social categories there was a trinary creation of religion, superstition, and the secular. In our conversation we discuss theocentric and heirocentric definitions of “religion,” the role of the demonic, heresy, varieties of Shinto, theories of secularization, superstition, civilizing projects, personal interior belief versus external behavior, and the institutional confirmation of these beliefs in legal contexts.

For the Table of Contents, see the book on Amazon. Looks good!

October 16, 2012 Posted by | Books of Interest, Religion | no comments

New Book on the “Invention of Religion in Japan”

A fascinating-looking new book is relevant to some discussions we’ve had here in the past about Confucianism and other Chinese traditions and, or as, “religion”: JASON JOSEPHSON, The Invention of Religion in Japan (Chicago, 2012). Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

In 1853, the Japanese were required to consider what the word religion meant when western powers compelled the Tokugawa government to ensure freedom of religion to Christian missionaries. The challenge this request posed was based on the fact that prior to the nineteenth century Japanese language had no parallel terminology for the category of religion. In The Invention of Religion in Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2012), Jason Ānanda Josephson, Assistant Professor of Religion at Williams College, delineates a genealogy of the Japanese construction of the category of religion, which was catalyzed by this political encounter between East and West. Josephson argues that opposed to the common notion that religion is an ethnographic or academic creation that we can place religion through diplomatic and legal discourses that invent or manufacture an identifiable, yet elastic, category. Prior to this political demand, contact between different Japanese and western social groups were discussed in bilateral descriptions of orthodoxy and heresy, either from a Christian or Buddhist perspective. Added to this developing understanding of terminology were the influences of western science, the negotiation of local practices, and the rise of nationalism. The Japanese depiction of Shinto poses the greatest challenge to customary notions of religion because it is described as a national or political science that is markedly nonreligious. Overall, Josephson demonstrates that in the defining of legal and social categories there was a trinary creation of religion, superstition, and the secular. In our conversation we discuss theocentric and heirocentric definitions of “religion,” the role of the demonic, heresy, varieties of Shinto, theories of secularization, superstition, civilizing projects, personal interior belief versus external behavior, and the institutional confirmation of these beliefs in legal contexts.

For the Table of Contents, see the book on Amazon. Looks good!

October 16, 2012 Posted by | Books of Interest, Religion | no comments

O'Donnell on Chinese Medicine

Friend of the blog Patrick O’Donnell has two posts up on “classical Chinese medicine” at Ratio Juris (cross-posted at ReligiousLeftLaw) and, and he invites comments from Warp, Weft & Way readers.

The first: http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/2012/04/toward-understanding-of-classical.html

The second: http://ratiojuris.blogspot.com/2012/08/toward-understanding-of-classical.html

Patrick notes that he plans more posts over the next year or two on the same subject.

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Medicine, Religion, Science | no comments

New book on Chinese religion and philosophy

Prof. SHAN Chun (University of Politics and law in Beijing; International Confucian Association) has published a new book with Springer titled Major Aspects of Chinese Religion and Philosophy. Those with institutional access to SpringerLink should be able to get the full text on-line; everyone should be able to access at least the Table of Contexts and the abstracts of each chapter. It is a broad, synthetic account, appreciative rather than historically or philosophically critical, that represents one contemporary Chinese approach to China’s religio-philosophic traditions.

August 19, 2012 Posted by | Confucianism, Philosophy in China, Recently Published, Religion | 3 comments

Ames on "Kongjiao 孔教" in Boston, April 25

I was intrigued by this announcement:

Wednesday, April 25, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Confucian China in a Changing World Order
孔教在當代
Dr. Roger T. Ames, University of Hawai’i
1st Floor Function Room, Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St, Boston
http://www.suffolk.edu/college/52190.html

What struck me was the use of “Kongjiao 孔教” to describe the view that Roger is discussing. (I am assuming that he added the Chinese title.) I guess that since “a-theistic religiosity” has long been an important part of his account of Confucianism, perhaps it should be less surprising. But “Kongjiao” resonates historically with efforts to institutionalize Confucian teachings in ways that I am not sure Roger would support. Any thoughts?

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Contemporary Confucianism, Religion | 3 comments

CFP: Confucian Traditions Group of AAR

The Confucian Traditions Group will sponsor panels for the 2012 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, which will take place in Chicago from November 17-20. This Group invites proposals concerning any aspect of Confucianism from any geographical area. Topics of particular interest this coming year are:

  • Confucianism and tradition — Confucianism as a conservative force or a source of change
  • Confucian ritual interaction with other traditions
  • Confucian self-cultivation
  • Confucianism and the Confucius Institutes
  • “Confucian Fever” — grass-roots Confucianism
  • Unintended consequences of Confucian discourse and institutions

Continue reading “CFP: Confucian Traditions Group of AAR”

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Conference, Confucianism, Opportunities, Religion | no comments

Three upcoming lectures at Columbia

On Friday, April 29, Edward Slingerland will speak on “Early Confucian Virtue Ethics and the Situationist Critique” to the THE COLUMBIA SOCIETY FOR COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY, with a response by Owen Flanagan.

On Friday, May 6, the COLUMBIA NEO-CONFUCIANISM SEMINAR will host two speakers:

  • Anna Sun, “The Revival of Confucius Worship: The Renewal and Reinvention of Personal Rites in Confucius Temples in Contemporary China.”
  • Yang Xiao, “‘Throw Me a Peach, I’ll Return You a Plum’: Mencius’ Moral Psychology of Social Relations.”

Details follow. Continue reading “Three upcoming lectures at Columbia”

April 26, 2011 Posted by | Comparative philosophy, Contemporary Confucianism, Lecture, Religion | one comment

CFP: Confucianism at the AAR

As many of you know, religious studies is home to a flourishing discourse about Confucianism that intersects in many ways with the conversations of philosophers and sinologists. Last year’s AAR panels on Confucianism were listed here; now I want to share the Call for Papers for this year’s AAR, to be held in San Francisco on Nov. 19-22, 2011:

We invite proposals concerning any aspect of Confucianism from any geographical area. Topics of particular interest this coming year are: 1. Confucianism in a Modern Context. 2. Confucian rituals: who does them and why they do them? 3. Everyday Confucianisms. 4. Fate, Death and Vulnerability in Confucianism. 5. Teaching Confucianism. 6. Confucianization of East Asia. 7. The institutionalization of Confucian Practices and Ideas. Panels that are in the traditional two-and-a-half-hour format are welcome, but we also encourage applicants to propose panels in the new ninety-minute format. This can take the form of a mini-panel or a symposium on a particular text, author, or pedagogy. Pre-arranged panel and papers sessions proposals have a much better chance of getting accepted than individual paper proposals. Underscoring that Confucianism is not just a Chinese phenomenon, we would also like to encourage people working on Confucian topics outside of China to send in proposals.

Submissions should be made through the AAR’s OP3 system.  If you have any questions, you should contact the co-chairs of the group: Thomas Wilson (twilson@hamilton.edu) and Yong Huang (yhuang@kutztown.edu).

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Call for Papers (CFP), Confucianism, Religion | no comments

Confucian Fundamentalism?

As a follow-up to my earlier post regarding the controversy that has arisen around the proposed Christian church in Qufu, the following remarks from Prof. Peng Guoxiang of the Tsinghua University Philosophy Department are quite interesting (I quote his remarks with his permission):

…Some self-proclaimed Confucians…are trying to stop [the church] by launching a social movement. This fundamentalist attitude, mingling with nationalism, is embraced not only by the young people, but also by some scholars in Confucian studies. A typical feature of Confucian tradition, religious tolerance and open-mindedness, which we have been proud of and exactly from which that multiple religious participation and multiple religious identity has been developed, is now severely damaged by this extremism. How to redevelop a healthy and profound Confucian vision as one of the great spiritual traditions and make its contributions to humankind in a global context is really a painstaking project.

Also: Continue reading “Confucian Fundamentalism?”

January 4, 2011 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Contemporary Confucianism, Modern Chinese Philosophy, Religion | 10 comments

Confucians React to Planned Christian Church in Qufu

An open letter, signed by several prominent Chinese scholars and endorsed by numerous Confucian organizations, has been released criticizing the plans to build a large Christian church in Qufu, about 3 km from the Qufu Confucian Temple. The letter begins:

We have recently heard that a large, Gothic-style Christian church, more than 40 meters high and capable of holding more than 3000 people, is under construction in the vicinity of Qufu’s Confucian Temple. We Confucian scholars, organizations, and websites are deeply shocked and worried, and call upon all concerned parties to respect this sacred ground of Chinese culture and halt construction of this Christian church….

I paste the entire letter, including the list of signatories (many of whom have been prominently identified with “Confucian teaching” or “Confucian religion” [rujiao 儒教]), below.  Continue reading “Confucians React to Planned Christian Church in Qufu”

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Contemporary Confucianism, Philosophy in China, Religion | 11 comments

NEH Summer Seminar on Daoist Literature and History

Terry Kleeman and Steve Bokenkamp will be jointly offering an intensive, 3-week Summer Seminar this coming summer. They write:

This intensive reading seminar, introducing texts from the earliest Celestial Master petitions to manuscripts still in use among Daoist in Taiwan and China, will be held on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder from July 18 to August 5, 2011.  We are looking for scholars who want to learn how to read Daoist texts and would like to expand their research and teaching to incorporate Daoist individuals, texts, teachings, and practices. There will also be an opportunity to participate in an anthology of translations from Daoist sources.  The Seminar will be demanding but participants will be free to explore the mountains on weekends.  NEH provides a $2,700 stipend to defer travel and living expenses; we expect housing on campus to run roughly $1150 (shared) or $1800 (single) per person.

For more information, see their website.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Daoism, Opportunities, Religion, Taoism | no comments

Confucianism Panels at AAR

Keith Knapp, on behalf of the Confucian Traditions group of the American Academy of Religion, reports on the several Confucian-related papers that will be offered at the upcoming AAR meeting in Atlanta, October 30-November 1. Looks good!

Continue reading “Confucianism Panels at AAR”

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Conference, Confucianism, Religion | no comments

Postdoc Opportunity in Japan Area Studies

The program in Asian Studies at Fairfield University has a one-year post-doctoral teaching position focusing on specializations centered on Japan. Philosophy or Intellectual History, though not explicitly mentioned in the ad, will be seriously considered. Continue reading “Postdoc Opportunity in Japan Area Studies”

January 27, 2010 Posted by | History, Opportunities, Religion | no comments

Resuming Duties

I’m officially back in Fearless Leader mode. I’d like to thank Dan Robins very much for guest blogging. We’ll have Dan back in the future, I’m sure (not that he’s going away; I’m sure he’ll be very active in commenting). I’ll be starting some posts composed by my Phil. 245 (‘Confucianism’) students in the next few days. Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to discuss “portable tradition,” a phrase Robert Neville uses to describe “Boston Confucianism.” The idea of Boston Confucianism was used initially tongue-in-cheek by Neville to refer to the New Confucian movement, in which he included Tu Wei-ming and himself, both of whom teach in Boston–one north of the Charles River (at Harvard) and one south (at BU).

The portability of Confucian tradition is based on the idea that there is nothing necessarily parochial, geographically speaking, about Confucianism–one need not be culturally Chinese or Sino-centered for the tradition to have some intellectual hold or appeal. You don’t have to be Greek, likewise, to be a Platonist. At this level of generality, it all sounds fine, if not innocuous. There is, however, the lingering question of portability not so much across geography (narrowly construed), but across time: is Confucianism portable into modernity and post-modernity?

At least one indirect criticism of portable Confucianism was provided by Bryan van Norden in his 2003 review (PEW 53:3) of Neville’s book, Boston Confucianism (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2000). I’m going to cut and paste (an image of) van Norden’s most critical comments, because I think he’s actually on to something, despite seeming only to be snarky (sorry about png quality–I’m too lazy to type all this out):

I have to admit, when I read *non-exegetical* pieces by Tu, there is something bland about his discussions–actually, they tend to strike me alternatively as bland or pragmatically undecipherable (What am I supposed to do with the fact of the dependency of human relations on larger patterns of connections to the cosmos as a whole? Study astronomy? Then what?) Is there something striking or captivating about what either Neville or Tu promote in their versions of Confucianism? Admittedly, I haven’t read enough of their works to be an expert; so let me know.

(Did I mention I was fearless?)

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Religion | 8 comments

Reverence, the Spiritual, and the Sacred in Confucianism

These themes seem to have come up in a few different posts, so I thought we might try to tie together some of the strands. I know it’s asking for a lot, but is there any way to get some clarity on how these concepts operate within the history of Confucianism?

I’m assuming there is some close network of meaning within which each of these can be used to understand each of the others–e.g. “the sacred” is something that calls for reverence; reverence is to be distinguished from a purely socially understood concept of respect because reverence is tied to value of a spiritual sort; and so forth.

[Brief digression: I’m sure many of you know more about Durkheim than I, but it seems like “the sacred” is some sort of indefinable, basic concept on his view; I’ve never found that very helpful (someone correct me, please, if I’m totally misreading Durkheim). I only bring Durkheim up because of Fingarette’s clear use of Durkheim’s template in allowing that “the secular” (as opposed to “the profane”) could be part of the sacred–Fingarette’s book on Confucius is called Confucius: the Secular as Sacred, for those who might not know.]

I think if we look at the instances of jing 敬 in the Analects, Mencius, Liji, and other pre-Buddhist texts, it seems to me like it could easily be translated as “respectfulness” rather than “reverence.” I think the main question, whether it is about translating jing or understanding the junzi’s pursuits as in some sense spiritual, is going to be about what the larger template of analysis is that makes the texts “speak to” spiritual or sacred concerns. I think I can see what that template is for understanding the neo-Confucians in that way: reaction to and partial assimilation of Buddhist concerns that are more clearly driven by soteriological goals. I’m not sure what the template should be for the early Confucians–despite having read Fingarette more than a few times. And I don’t know as much as I should about the New Confucians to understand how they would see themselves addressing issues of reverence, the spiritual, or the sacred.

Well, that’s what I’ll start with. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from responses to this post.

February 20, 2008 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Confucianism, Confucius, Religion | 13 comments