CRITICAL THEORY FROM AND BEYOND THE MARGINS
24 OCTOBER 2020, SATURDAY | 10:00 AM TO 6:00 PM (UTC +8)
ZOOM MEETING- ID: 976 4344 1616 | PASSCODE: 241
Critical theory is a Western, and distinctly European, intellectual tradition that drew its normative resources from the social and political events that transpired in Europe over the course of the 20th century. It is relevant to ask the question whether, as a critical-practical
tradition, critical theory has anything to contribute outside the Western-European context, given the emergence of globalization and the issues that arose with it. For some, the Eurocentrism of critical theory is symptomatic of its very own crisis, one which challenges the universality of its normative claims, e.g., the abolition of social injustice. Is it possible for critical theory to overcome its Eurocentrism and, therefore, its own crisis? The irony is that critical theory is only able to defend the universality of its normative claims when it is able to
renew itself. If it is at all possible to renew critical theory, what does this renewal entail? The workshop will pursue these questions by expanding the scope of traditional critical theory, especially, but not exclusively, by drawing on critical perspectives on modern societies and
emancipation movements that have originated in Asia.
Earlier this month Joseph Chan, a well-known authority on Confucianism at the University of Hong Kong, published a short essay (in Chinese) that draws on the Analects (especially 8:13) to think about people’s responsibilities when a state “lacks the Way.” A very brief summary: when Confucius says that in a state lacking the Way one should “yin 隱” (which is translated “conceal” in that Ctext link), he does not mean that one should hide away and fail to engage with the society. It might be worth contrasting this with questions raised in 2014 during the Umbrella Movement about the lack of Confucian discourse at that time.
Philip J. Ivanhoe’s article, “How Confucius loses face in China’s new surveillance regime” has been published at Aeon. For the full article, click the URL below:
T. H. Jiang & Shuan O’Dwyer, “The Universal Ambitions Of China’s Illiberal Confucian Scholars,” has been published in the on-line journal Palladium. It begins:
Amid today’s talk of a coming civilizational clash between China and the West, it is easy to find philosophical experts on China holding forth on the cultural contours of Sino-Western civilizational difference. “China has always been and always will continue to be a communitarian society,” some have insisted; and its Confucian ethos is not a doctrine like America’s liberal individualism, but is instead the “ongoing narrative of a specific community of a people, the center of an ongoing ‘way’ or Dao.”
Such explanations amount to orientalist fantasies. How an industrialized society like modern China, transformed by both Communism and market reforms could still be defined by primordial cultural characteristics is not explained. Moreover, far from being a continuous, deeply organic narrative of the Chinese people, Confucianism is a diverse set of doctrines that have been ideologically contested, marginalized, reinvented and imposed as state dogmas at different times in Chinese history. This point holds for a brand of illiberal, statist Confucianism being promoted today in some of China’s leading universities, a brand whose future is still uncertain, but whose proponents hold out great hopes for its adoption into Chinese Communist Party orthodoxy. Moreover, this reinvented nationalist Confucianism is not without precedent in the modern history of East Asia; over a century ago, Japanese scholars educated in Europe were the pioneers of such a reinvention. This precedent, its cross-cultural inspirations, and its present day historical parallels in contemporary Chinese intellectual life merit examination, in view of the claims made by scholars for the cultural centrality of Confucianism in a morally renewed, globally rising China….
About this Book
A leading foreign policy thinker uses Chinese political theory to explain why some powers rise as others decline and what this means for the international order.
For more information, please see the publisher website or below.
Just published: Handbook on Human Rights in China (Edward Elgar Publishing), edited by Sarah Biddulph (Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia) and Joshua Rosenzweig (East Asia Research Director, Amnesty International). More info here; Table of Contents below.
The Centre of East Asian and Comparative Philosophy of City University of Hong Kong is hosting a public seminar on 19 August, 2019, titled: “Can Confucianism Meet Contemporary Challenges in Hong Kong?” The speaker is professor Baogang He from Deakin University, Australia. For more information, please see the event flyer here.
The latest issue of the Journal of Social Philosophy includes a Book Symposium on Sungmoon Kim’s Public Reason Confucianism (Cambridge, 2016):
- Joseph Chan, Public Reason Confucianism Without Foundation?
- Baldwin Wong, A Non‐Sectarian Comprehensive Confucianism?—On Kim’s Public Reason Confucianism
- Franz Mang, Why Public Reason Could Not Be Too Modest: The Case of Public Reason Confucianism
- Stephen C. Angle, Does Confucian Public Reason Depend on Confucian Civil Religion?
- Sungmoon Kim, In Defense of Public Reason Confucianism: Reply to Chan, Mang, Wong, and Angle
A new book that should be of interest to many: Martin Powers, China and England: The Preindustrial Struggle for Justice in Word and Image (Routledge, 2019). Read on for the publisher’s description.