Confucian Traditions Group panels at AAR

The Confucian Traditions Group is sponsoring two panels for this year’s AAR: “Nurturing Moral Children: Confucian Visions of Parenthood and Childhood” and “Confucian Secularism.” Read on for details.

Childhood Studies and Religion Group and Confucian Traditions Group
Theme: Nurturing Moral Children: Confucian Visions of Parenthood and Childhood
Thomas A. Wilson, Hamilton College, Presiding
Sunday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton Bayfront-310A

In Confucianism political and social order stems from the family. The family is a microcosm of the state. Of course this means if familial relationships are dysfunctional, disharmony will appear not only within the family, but also within the state. Given the family’s importance, one wonders how did Confucians conceive of parenthood and childhood? How were parents supposed to train and control their children? Did these conceptions of parenthood and childhood change over time? Ranging across the span of China’s history and into the present, the panel’s five papers demonstrate that Confucians had distinct notions about parenthood and childhood; moreover, these notions all centered on the project of making children into moral adults.

Erin Cline, Georgetown University
Families of Virtue: Prenatal and Infant Moral Cultivation in Early Confucianism
Keith Knapp, The Citadel
Forever the Child: Confucian Conceptions of Childhood as Envisioned in Early Medieval Filial Piety Tales
Pauline Lee, Saint Louis University
Two Confucian Theories on Children and Childhood: Commentaries on the Analects and theMengzi
Loye Ashton, Tougaloo College
Children of Nobility: New Confucian Thought and International Adoption
Sarah Schneewind, University of California, San Diego


Confucian Traditions Group
Theme: Confucian Secularism
Jiang Wu, University of Arizona, Presiding
Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Hilton Bayfront-502A

The influence of the Confucian tradition throughout East Asian societies has been vast and extensive. Its secular humanist perspective is typically acknowledged, as is its inspiration on 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 might constitute. Even basic questions — is there a Confucian secularism? — fail to elicit uniform agreement. This panel explores 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, and if so, what the nature/character of Confucian secularism is, and what if anything, distinguishes it from other types of secularism. Both theoretical and historical aspects are introduced and discussed.

Albert Welter, University of Arizona
Confucian Secularism and the Administration of Buddhism in China (Based on Zanning’s Topical History of the Buddhist Order, Compiled in the Song dynasty)
Ding-hwa Evelyn Hsieh, Truman State University
Confucianism and Liberal Arts Education: Learning, Thinking, and Reading to “Serve Humans” (Shiren??)
Charles B. Jones, Catholic University of America
The Jesuit-Confucian Encounter in Late Ming China and the Formation of the “Secular”
Ivan Hon, University of Wales, Lampeter
Confucian Secularism or Religiousness?: Perspective from Contemporary Chinese Intellectuals’ Arguments on the Religious/ Secular and Sacred/ Profane Dichotomy in Confucianism
Sarah Mattice, University of North Florida
Confucianism, Transcendence, and Secular Categorization
Business Meeting:
Thomas A. Wilson, Hamilton College?

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