Category Archives: China

On-line Lecture: Jenco: The Ming-Qing Transition as a Philosophical Problem

Leigh Jenco: The Ming-Qing Transition as a Philosophical Problem

Time: Dec 3, 2021 04:00 PM (German time); register here.

Description: The transition from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty was not experienced as a sharp break for those who lived through it, but it has come to stand in the minds of later Chinese literati as nothing less than an existential crisis for Chinese identity—both driving and driven by a shift in intellectual perspective that emerged in the early years of Qing consolidation. Many educated literati retrospectively blamed the fall of the Ming on the abstruse philosophizing that preoccupied followers of Wang Yangming, a sixteenth-century statesman, frontier general and philosopher whose rejection of state-sponsored Confucian orthodoxy rode a wave of interest in metaphysical speculation about the sources of moral knowledge. In its place—just as the government policy adapted from an inward-looking, Han-dominated state to a cosmopolitan, expansionist inner Asian empire—seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literati turned their attention to the historical and philological verification of classic texts, inaugurating the “evidential learning” (kaozheng) that twentieth-century Chinese reformers would see as proof of an indigenous, modern “scientific spirit.” In this paper I argue that such divisions obscure from view the extent to which the Manchu victory and the territorial consolidation that followed continued the strong parallels that marked both Chinese and European societies in early modernity. There are thus important philosophical consequences for periodizing the Chinese early modern period as an abrupt transition from “Ming to Qing” or “philosophy to philology”. I use my current research to offer examples of these consequences. Specifically, I argue that characterizing this time period in terms of a rupture between dynasties, rather than as a more general epoch of early modernity, leaves us unable to assess philosophically the ways in which ideas and practices thematized by scholars of Yangming learning enabled particular kinds of discourse about human difference to take shape.

2022-23 Berggruen USC Fellowship

The AY 2022-23 Berggruen USC Fellowship is open for applications until January 10th, 2022. We welcome thinkers from across cultures and disciplines to apply, and there is a special interest in projects related to China. Berggruen Fellows can be either academics or unattached intellectuals (for whom the Berggruen Fellowship may serve as a retreat from work in industry, government, or the arts) but above all must be committed to intellectual work of the highest quality. Fellows will work from the our Institute’s office in Downtown Los Angeles and will have access to the scholarly resources of the University of Southern California.

For more information on application timeline and requirements, please check here: https://dornsife.usc.edu/stpl/usc-beggruen-fellowship-application/

Book Talk: Peter Zarrow, Abolishing Boundaries

Book Talk: Peter Zarrow, Abolishing Boundaries: Global Utopias in the Formation of Modern Chinese Political Thought, 1880-1940, Wednesday November 10 12:15-1:15 EST (Zoom)

Focusing on four key Chinese intellectuals of the first half of the twentieth century, Abolishing Boundaries offers new perspectives on modern Chinese political thought. These four intellectuals—Kang Youwei, Cai Yuanpei, Chen Duxiu, and Hu Shi—were deeply familiar with the Confucian and Buddhist classical texts, while also interested in the West’s utopian literature of the late nineteenth century as well as Kant and the neo-Kantians, Marxists, and John Dewey and new liberalism, respectively. Although none of these four intellectuals can simply be labeled utopian thinkers, this book highlights how their thinking was intertwined with utopian ideals to produce theories of secular transcendence, liberalism, and communism, and how, in explicit and implicit ways, their ideas required some utopian impulse in order to escape the boundaries they identified as imprisoning the Chinese people and all humanity. To abolish these boundaries was to imagine alternatives to the unbearable present. This was not a matter of armchair philosophizing but of thinking through new ways to commit to action. These men did not hold a totalistic picture of some perfect society, but in distinctly different ways they all displayed a utopian impulse that fueled radical visions of change. Their work reveals much about the underlying forces shaping modern thought in China—and the world. Reacting to China’s problems, they sought a better future for all humanity.

http://www.sunypress.edu/p-7035-abolishing-boundaries.aspx

Peter Zarrow is Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. His previous books include Educating China: Knowledge, Society, and Textbooks in a Modernizing World, 1902–1937 and After Empire: The Conceptual Transformation of the Chinese State, 1885–1924.

Wednesday Workshop Series, Department of History, University of Connecticut

November 10, 12:15 – 13:15 pm Eastern Time (US/Canada)

Join Zoom meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83848231520?pwd=MGlLUmt2YUFKaENOYVE5MVF0SXRNdz09

Meeting ID: 838 4823 1520

Article of Interest: ‘Confucianism’, an Alternative Source of Belief in Contemporary Chinese Society

Lan Jiang-fu’s article “‘Confucianism’, an Alternative Source of Belief in Contemporary Chinese Society: An Empirical Study of the Founding of Xin 信 in a ‘Confucian’ Company” has just been published in the journal Religions.

Abstract:

Open claims to Confucian values, often associated with cultural traditionalism and a larger revival of Confucianism among the Chinese population from the 2000s onwards, have gained momentum in the world of entrepreneurs. The intensity of this phenomenon can be explained by a wide variety of motivations, among which a desire to establish a belief, a sort of xin 信 towards traditional values, has emerged from within the “Confucian” company. Based on fieldwork carried out between 2017 and 2018 at TW, a private company located in Dongguan (Guangdong), this paper aims to analyze the efforts undertaken by “Confucian” managers to use the spiritual guidance role of Confucianism. Our work is organized into three sections. First, we analyze the main modalities of proselytizing within TW. Then, based on the personal experiences of three employees of this company, we try to understand how they live the jiaohua and to what extent this “educational” experience inspired by Confucianism has allowed them to reorient themselves towards a new way of perceiving the world. Finally, by placing it in a broader context, that of contemporary Chinese society’s crisis of values, we question the role Confucianism can play in the foundation of a population’s beliefs.

The full text is available here.

China Studies Post-doctoral Fellowship, Ashoka University

The China Studies Post-doctoral Fellowship (CSPF), offered jointly by Ashoka University (India) and the Harvard-Yenching Institute (US), is an opportunity for recent PhDs in China Studies to conduct a two-year study on China under the guidance of established scholars and simultaneously teach courses on China at top Indian universities.

The fully-funded fellowship is open to scholars who have either completed their PhD anytime after 2012 or will complete their PhD by Spring 2022 Semester, with their research specifically focussed on China (utilizing Chinese language sources) across various disciplines of humanities and social science. These include, but are not limited to, anthropology, archaeology, cultural studies, economics, geography, history, international relations, language and literature, legal history, philosophy, political science, religion and sociology. The fellowship is also open to scholars of China Studies who are teaching at Indian universities and wish to pursue novel research on China while continuing their teaching engagement at their current university. Applicants should have a working knowledge of Mandarin, sufficient for academic research.

For more information, please visit https://www.h-net.org/jobs/job_display.php?id=61662

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies

The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies are now accepting applications
for the 2021-22 fellowship competition. The deadline for Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies is 9PM Eastern Time on November 1, 2021. 

In cooperation with the Henry Luce Foundation, ACLS has embarked on a three-year bridging initiative to reassess and reconfigure the Luce/ACLS Program in China Studies.  We will convene scholars at all ranks, higher education leaders, journalists, and other readers of research and writing on China to re-imagine and transform our program to meet the needs of China studies in the 21st century.

Fellowships in 2021-22 will support research, writing, and curriculum development.  An intensive retreat on the future of the field, on progress of fellowship projects, and on their curricular implications will be held in June 2022.

New Journal: International Studies on Confucianism

A new journal, publishing both Chinese-language and English-language articles on Confucianism, has been established jointly by the International Confucian Association and Tsinghua University: 《国际儒学(中英文)》 or  International Studies on Confucianism. More information, including the Table of Contents of the first issue, is here.