Thinking the Republic of China: An International Symposium

Invitation to Thinking the Republic of China: An International Symposium 《思考中華民國》國際論壇

Time: August 21, 2021 to September 6, 2021 (All Times Local Taiwan Time)

Location: Online

Registration is Open and Preferred

Organiser: The Global Sinology Forum at National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan (國際漢學平台在中山)

To register and for program details, please click here and here

In 2015, professor Yang Rur-bin (楊儒賓) published In Praise of 1949 (1949禮讚), a short volume that examined the long term intellectual and cultural impact that the 1949 transfer of the Republic of China (ROC) state structure to Taiwan had on the island. Published at a time of rising nativist nationalism on the island, Yang’s work argued that despite the historic traumas associated with the ROC regime in Taiwan, the 1949 rupture also transformed Taiwanese society in a variety of positive ways, imbuing it with a state structure that not only valued traditional Chinese culture (at a time when it was being openly denounced on the Mainland), but also possessed powerful forces within it committed to liberalism and democracy, grounded in a democratic tradition of thought that went back to the late-Qing.


In Yang’s most compelling theoretical move, he argued that the ROC and Taiwan had become dialectically fused together, two forces that had once seemed in opposition yet, through extensive engagement, experimentation, and reconstitution, had become sublimated into a new political community: ROC-Taiwan, a conceptual framework that would be later used by president Tsai Yingwen to describe the state she ruled over. All told, Yang’s work provided a stirring re-articulation of the historical meaning of the ROC-Taiwan experience, doing so as a means of reminding the intellectual community on both sides of the straits of the epistemic and intellectual costs of rejecting the Republic outright. Placed in the immediate context of the book’s publication, it was a bold intellectual gambit, one that provided a conceptual language not just to understand the Taiwanese past, but to build a political and intellectual consensus for the island’s future.

著作中最吸引人的論述構建即為強調中華民國與台灣的辯證性融合,兩造曾對立的勢力經過長期磨合、實驗與重構漸漸揚棄過往,成為一新的共同體:中華民國—台灣, 一種一體兩面的社會模式。 此論述框架後來被蔡英文總統運用來說明她所管轄的國家。 因而,楊儒賓的著作提供一種對中華民國—台灣歷史經驗強而有力的價值重估,提醒兩岸學術界,若在學術與知識上徹底否認中華民國可能帶來的後果。如果了解本書所回應的困境,我們可以將其視為一種大膽的冒險,除了提供理解戰後台灣歷史的知識框架外,更能協助我們在島嶼上達成「共生」的政治與學術共識,走向更穩定的未來。

Yang Rur-bin’s new work, entitled Thinking the Republic of China (思考中華民國), deepens his historical reflections on the meaning of the Republic, placed within the context of not just Taiwanese history, both Chinese history as a whole since the late-Qing. The book engages with a wide swath of modern Chinese intellectual work, from Liang Qichao, Sun Yatsen, Mao Zedong, to Liang Shuming, Lin Xiantang, Jiang Weishui, Zhang Junmai, Mou Zongsan, Tang Junyi, and more. In this new work Yang argues that the paradigm of modern transformation that the ROC offered- liberal, Confucian, social democratic, market oriented but socially responsive- provided a powerful alternative to the radical iconoclasm, class violence, and anti-market collectivism of high Maoism, offering a powerful heritage for thinkers on both sides of the straits.

楊儒賓即將問世的《思考中華民國》,更深化對民國歷史的關懷,將中華民國史放在兩岸晚清以來的歷史脈絡中,探究其坎坷的發展歷程。本書廣泛地分析現代中國思想光譜,包含梁啟超、孫中山、毛澤東、梁漱溟、林獻堂、蔣渭水、張君勱、牟宗三與唐君毅等。著論中主張中華民國的現代轉型路線為基於自由主義、傳統主義、社會民主,以及經濟市場的理想,這樣的路線與對岸毛澤東思想所帶來的反傳統主義、階級鬥爭與反市場經濟形成強烈的對比。因此, 中華民國的現代化路線不僅極具影響力,更理應成為兩岸思想家的共同遺產,值得我們不斷地爬梳與釐清。

This online forum brings together leading thinkers from Taiwan, Canada, the United States, France, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong to engage with professor Yang’s newest work, inviting them to explore this ambitious rethinking of the meaning and legacy of the Republic, and what resources such an historical experience provides us for thinking today about models of social transformation, political solidarity, and educational work in the Chinese world and beyond.


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