CFP: BU Conference on Confucianism in US

Rectifying the Name of Confucianism, Boston University, September 28-29, 2018

Keynote Speakers: Stephen C. Angle (Wesleyan), Bryan Van Norden (Vassar)

Boston University Confucian Association invites scholars from any discipline to participate in a symposium exploring the prospects for Ruism (Confucianism) in the United States. (For submission information, see below or here.)

The powerful revival of Ruism in mainland China and other parts of the world stimulates scholarly interest in its potential interaction with aspects of American society. However, the public image of Ruism in the U.S. is limited by how the tradition has been presented to Western audiences since the colonial period into the 19th and early 20th centuries. The resulting perception not only inhibits Americans from understanding the rich diversity of the Ru tradition, it also significantly undermines opportunities for American society to adopt Ruist wisdom and apply it to its own situation.

This conference aims to provide a forum in which to explore the question of how to situate Ruism in contemporary American society. Interested scholars are encouraged to submit proposals for papers that reflect on the following or other related themes:

  • Contemporary interpretations of central concepts in Ruist philosophy, such as Ru (儒), Ren (仁, Humaneness), Li (禮, Ritual-propriety), Tian (天, the cosmos), Wu (無, nothingness), and many others.
  • The reception of Ruism in Western intellectual history, such as how Ruism was interpreted by Christian missionaries, Ruist influences on Enlightenment era thought, or how the architects of American democracy learned from Ruist texts.
  • What insights can Ruism offer to enrich reflection in the U.S. on topics such as liberal democracy, education, family ethics, social justice, spirituality, economic policy, etc.?
  • What institutional configuration would benefit Ruism as it seeks to gain a fresh hearing in the U.S.?

Guidelines for submission: Please submit a 300 word abstract outlining the topic and main arguments of the paper by June 1st, 2018. Proposals should include email contact information, job title, and institutional affiliation. Advanced PhD candidates are also encouraged to submit. Please send proposals, as well as any questions, to Notification will be made by June 15th, and participants must submit their full paper by August 15th for pre-circulation. Accepted papers will be considered for inclusion in an edited volume.

Symposium Format: Panels will be scheduled beginning Friday afternoon and concluding Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning will include an option to participate in a ritual veneration of Confucius. At least some meals will be provided, and travel costs of graduate students will be subsidized. The symposium will overlap part of the Second “Ruist (Confucian) Friends From Afar” Retreat in North America. Panelists may choose to participate in the retreat, which runs until Sunday morning.

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