Prof. Albert Welter is looking to organize an AAR panel on Confucian Secularism. Please contact him if you are interested.
The influence of the Confucian tradition throughout East Asian societies has been vast and extensive. Its secular humanist perspective is typically acknowledged, as its inspiration for European enlightenment figures such as Voltaire, which helped to spawn secular traditions in the West. In spite of this commonly acknowledged perspective, there has been little discussion about what Confucian secularism actually is and what it actually means. Even basic questions — Is there a Confucian secularism? — fail to elicit uniform agreement. I invite proposals for a possible panel to explore various facets of Confucian tradition with an aim toward answering questions regarding whether or not Confucian traditions may be regarded as a species of secularism. If so, what is the nature/character of Confucian secularism? What if anything, distinguishes it from other types of secularism? I particularly welcome proposals that engage the question in relation to Confucian attitudes toward “religious” traditions, as the secular/religious dichotomy most dominates discussion about secularism. While Chinese sources and contexts understandably play a large role in any discussion regarding Confucian secularism, I also welcome perspectives that draw on Korean and Japanese sources and examples.
Albert Welter, PhD
Professor and Head, Department of East Asian Studies
Associate Director, School of International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (SILLC)
University of Arizona
Learning Services Building #102
1512 First Street
Tucson, AZ 85721-0105