Call for submissions: Reading Primary Sources in Asian Philosophies

From Malcolm Keating:

Do you have a favorite Asian philosophical text to teach, one that you’re excited about and want to see taught in other classrooms? Bloomsbury Academic is soliciting contributions to a collection of entries for an electronic resource, Reading Primary Sources in Asian Philosophies. Each entry will be a succinct, lively introduction and guide to an important Asian philosophical text. The collection will include Asian texts from any time period or geographical region: for instance, China, India, Japan, Korea, or Southeast Asia, texts which may be ancient, classical, or modern (colonial, post-colonial, etc.). Entries may be relevant to any philosophical subdiscipline, so long as they are grounded in a specific text.

The purpose of this collection is to confront one of the challenges in expanding coverage of the philosophical canon: engaging with primary texts. Instructors may not have as much experience in teaching broadly “non-Western” texts as they do others, and introductory material is sometimes scholarly, presenting a challenge for those new to a field of study. In contrast, these entries are intended to be engaging, accessible introductions that assist readers with understanding the context of a text as well as how to read it philosophically.

Submission details:

  • Length: Submitted entries should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words.
  • Topic: Each guide should focus on a single primary text, introducing the reader to the text’s author (where relevant), situating it in its historical context, and then discussing a particular section, theme, or argument in detail.
  • Style: These entries are aimed at the undergraduate classroom, and so should be accessible, not scholarly, in tone, so that instructors could assign them as supplements to reading the primary text. These entries might also act as background material for instructors unfamiliar with the text and philosophical tradition.
  • Translations: Where primary texts are untranslated or translated in languages or styles the audience may be unfamiliar with, authors may include a short translation, in which case the length of the entry in total (including the translation) may surpass 3,000 words.
  • Sample entry structure:
    • Title should include a general description of the content, followed by reference to the author and text’s title in translation and the original language. Example: “Speaking Literally and Metaphorically: Mukula Bhaṭṭa’s Fundamentals of the Communicative Function (Abhidhāvṛttamātṛkā)”
    • Historical context (250 words). Introduce the author, their corpus, biographical details, the text’s genre and position within the relevant tradition(s).
    • Conceptual background (500 words). Explain what is at stake in the text’s thesis and main lines of argumentation, introducing relevant interlocutors.
    • Discussion of central theme, argument, or textual excerpt (1,500 to 2,000 words). Unpack specific portions of the text, quote some key passages, and illustrate how to read the work, so that instructors and students can engage with the rest of the work independently.
    • For further reading (100 words). Conclude with a brief summary (one to two sentences) of where the reader can learn more about the text. This should not be an annotated bibliography but a mention of the most important secondary material that would help with the reading.
    • Keywords: 5 to 10 keywords that categorize the entry

Questions to consider when writing an entry:

  1. What makes this text an important and interesting primary source philosophically?
  2. What are the background assumptions and existing debates that readers should know in order to engage with the text?
  3. What considerations of genre, style, source language, etc., are important for readers to understand the text? Are there interpretive challenges to be aware of?
  4. Are there connections to other philosophical traditions that readers might wish to pursue? This could include within Asia but also more broadly (any time period or geographical region). Entries are not primarily cross-cultural in nature, but authors should feel free to make connections to other traditions.

Deadline: December 31, 2023

Send questions and submissions to the General Editor, Malcolm Keating, at (Please send a Word document and a PDF to ensure that diacritical marks are preserved.)

Contact Information

Malcolm Keating
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Yale-NUS College

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