CFP: Women as Exemplary Persons 女君子 in the Ru (Confucian) Tradition

Call For Papers: “Women as Exemplary Persons 女君子 in the Ru (Confucian) Tradition”

Washington, D.C. March 8-10th, 2019

(Link to Conference Poster)


  • Ann A. Pang-White (University of Scranton)
  • Anna Sun (Kenyon College)
  • Robert C. Neville (Boston University)

Confucianism is often criticized for being misogynistic and patriarchal in ways that go beyond similar critiques of other intellectual traditions by implying that Confucianism is inconceivable apart from these elements. Two more recent works begin to challenge this way of thinking by drawing on nuances and elaborating the contexts of traditional Confucian teachings on women: Ann A. Pang-White’s translation of The Confucian Four Books for Women (2018) and Robert C. Neville’s “Confucianism and the Feminist Revolution: Ritual Definition and the Social Construction of Gender Roles” in The Good is One, Its Manifestations Many (2016). Also, Anna Sun’s sociological work in progress on women in the global revival of Confucianism is quite promising in indicating a very positive trajectory for women in the tradition.

We envision a three-day conference starting from the 2019 International Women’s Day to consider the roles that women have had in the Ru tradition and to elaborate resources from within the tradition for re-envisioning women as exemplary persons in the contemporary world. The notion of an exemplary person 君子is central to the tradition as the goal of moral self-cultivation, attained by education and character cultivation, but its application to women has not been common, and the moral status of women has been ambiguous in the tradition. This conference will undertake the work of excavating the ways in which women have been exemplary persons in the tradition and make contributions to reconfiguring the tradition to include and celebrate the moral leadership of women today. We will particularly solicit papers addressing the following topics:

  • Confucian teaching by, about, or directed to women in various historical periods.
  • Philosophical resources within the Ru tradition that address women as exemplary persons.
  • Discussions and critiques of contemporary scholarship on the role and work of women in Confucianism.
  • Dialogue and comparison between Confucian thinking about women and feminist philosophy.
  • Considerations of the leadership role of women in contemporary society inspired by Confucian and related intellectual resources.

Please submit an abstract no more than 300 words to Dr. Bin Song: before January 31th, 2019, and detail your title, affiliation and contact in the submission. Decisions of acceptance will be delivered before February 10th, and please prepare a conference paper for presentation within 15-20 minutes.

Location: 1776 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036.

Organizers: Bin Song (Department of Philosophy and Religion, Washington College)

Lawrence A.Whitney (Marsh Chapel, Boston University).

Sponsor: Confucius Institute U.S Center.

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