Princeton Comparative Workshop in Early Military Thought

The East Asian Studies Program and the IHUM present:

Bellum vs zhan 戰: A Comparative Workshop in Early Military Thought

When: April 4th 2015 (Saturday)
Where: 202 Jones Hall, Princeton University

To register please contact Mercedes Valmisa at Please indicate if you would like to join for lunch, dinner or both. RSVP before March 10.

This one-day workshop will explore the interplay between military thought and philosophy in general, and the place of military thought and writing in the early intellectual histories of Early China and Ancient Rome, from a comparative perspective. Did the military specialists in each region influence and/or shape the (early) development of philosophy? Or did military thought profit from the larger philosophical tradition? How can we appreciate their mutual influence? What is the relation between military texts and other texts, and between military thinkers and strategists, on the one hand, and the broader category of early thinkers and philosophers, on the other hand? When compared, how different were the processes of mutual influence and construction with regard to military texts and philosophical texts in Early China and Ancient Rome? What is the nature of the extant military texts from both regions, and how does it differ from that of the philosophical texts? These are some of the questions that will frame our discussions.

10am-12pm Morning Roundtable: “Just War and the Challenge to Nomos”

Join Professor Richard Billows (Rome specialist, Columbia University) and Professor Robin McNeal (China specialist, Cornell University) to read and discuss preselected passages from the Early Chinese and Roman military traditions around the topic of comparison “Just War and the Challenge to Nomos.”

2-6pm Afternoon Talks:

Robin McNeal, “Early Military Texts and the Rise of Philosophical Reflection in Early China”

Richard Billows, “Cicero and the Roman Origin of Western Just War Theory”

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