Warp, Weft, and Way

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

Workshop: Infusing Asian Philosophy into the Traditional Curriculum

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Hey, Everyone,

I’m the program chair for the SACP panels at the APA East meeting, and I’m thinking of running a workshop for non-Asianists who want to include some Asian philosophy in the classroom.

The reason I’m writing is that I’m looking for ideas.

First let me tell you how I’m thinking about it. Suppose you could choose one text to include in a traditional philosophical anthology. The anthology would be in any specific area of philosophy or would be a basic introductory text. You would get to choose a short piece to represent any part of any Asian tradition that could be covered in one class period. That’s the first part of how to think about it. The second part of how to think of it would be: now what if a colleague came and asked you how to teach that text in the classroom? How would you explain it, or what kind of extra resources would you provide (in a reasonable amount) so that a non-Asianist could competently teach it without having to get a degree in it?

So, given those two ways of framing the issue, how should I approach this kind of panel? Should I open it to all Asian philosophy in general? Or should I focus on a specific philosophical area, such as ethics or epistemology? If the latter, which area would be a good first candidate?

Have any of your colleagues every shown an interest in such a thing? I broached the topic with a couple of colleagues today. One said that he’d be interested in a text from the Chinese tradition that he could use for an Intro class and would love to know how to teach it. Another said he’d be interested in an epistemology text from any non-Western tradition.

Do you think this kind of panel would garner any interest from non-Asianists at the meeting? Would people show up for a workshop on how to infuse Asian works of philosophy into their classrooms?

Finally, would any of you have an interest in answering this kind of call for papers? This would be pretty basic stuff from a specialist’s perspective.

Or is it a really bad idea to think that some non-Asianist could sit through a thirty minute lecture on an Asian text and then be competent to teach it?

Or is it a bad idea because we’d be ceding our turf?

All ideas are welcome. Feel free to shoot me down.

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