Warp, Weft, and Way

A Group Blog of Chinese and Comparative Philosophy

If you’re in Boston this weekend…

International Workshop on the Research of Chinese Philosophy in Japan and Taiwan: With Critical Retrospections and future Prospects

Co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Date: Saturday, March 20 – Sunday, March 21, 2010
Time: Saturday 10:00 – 5:00 pm; Sunday 10:00 am – 5:40 pm
Location: Yenching Common Room, 2 Divinity Avenue

In the last several years, scholars in many fields have benefited from a worldwide exchange of research, and have begun to share their new findings and novel ideas with their colleagues in other countries. Yet the field of Chinese philosophy in East Asia has unfortunately lagged behind in this respect. Over the past few decades, scholars in this field have failed to take advantage of the resources offered them by the emerging global research environment, and have become more insular than ever before. This workshop aims to respond to this situation by providing Western scholars with comprehensive yet critical accounts of research on Chinese philosophy in Japan and Taiwan in four major research fields: early Chinese philosophy, Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism, Buddhist philosophy, and Contemporary Neo-Confucianism. The workshop will be momentous for Japanese scholarly circles in this area because it will be the first such workshop in which six Japanese scholars on Chinese philosophy will all present papers in English.

The program agenda is available here.

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March 19, 2010 - Posted by | Buddhism, Contemporary Confucianism

1 Comment »

  1. I was looking up oen of the presenter’ names and found another PDF outlining this workshop, perhaps held in Japan. It is here:
    http://liberal.ntu.edu.tw/file/TOP99B.pdf

    Abstracts of the papers are found starting on page 178 (181 of the PDF).

    The introduction is longer there and I will reproduce it here:

    In the last several years, scholars in many fields have benefitted from a worldwide exchange of research, and have begun to share their new findings and novel ideas with their colleagues in other countries. Yet the field of Chinese philosophy has unfortunately lagged behind in this respect. Over the past few decades, scholars in this field have failed to take advantage of the resources offered them by the emerging global research environment, and have become more insular than ever before.

    Although there have been efforts to introduce foreign viewpoints into the universities of mainland China, a substantial number of scholars and students in China are not aware of the research done by foreign scholars. Though Taiwan’s scholars are, generally speaking, more motivated to encounter new ideas and unique perspectives from Western researches, their works on Chinese philosophy (especially those written by the younger generation), show no greater awareness of research in non-Chinese languages than they did ten years ago, and this despite the many Western scholars in Chinese philosophy who have been invited to give talks to Taiwanese scholars.

    The situation faced by Japanese scholars is more serious. The country’s lengthy economic setback and the consequent declining interest in non-practical fields have made it increasingly likely that this research area may not exist in the Japanese university two decades from now. Overtaken by these depressing conditions since the depression started in early 1990s, a considerable number of Japanese young Ph.D.s have not been able to attain tenured positions, and have left the profession. At the same time, every year graduate schools see a decreased number of applicants for Ph.D.s in this area. One of the reasons research on Chinese philosophy may be declining in Japan is the dearth of comparative perspectives pursued by Japanese scholars and their lack of interest in research published in Western languages. The situation has been aggravated by the gradual decline in attention paid to Japanese research by Western scholars.

    By contrast, the development of research concerning Chinese philosophy in the US for the past two decades has been remarkable. Unfortunately, the continuous growth of the body of research published in English and the inclusion of Chinese scholars into its own scholarly paradigm and problematique have paradoxically made Western scholars more insular in their research. The recent development of the field of Xunzi studies is a typical case. For the past twenty years, Xunzi studies of those four regions (i.e. China, Taiwan, Japan and the US) have, with only few exceptions, proceeded in mutual isolation, with scholars repeatedly rehashing old viewpoints mainly from their own regions as original ideas.

    This workshop aims to respond to this situation by providing Western scholars with comprehensive yet critical accounts of research on Chinese philosophy in Japan and Taiwan in four major research fields: early Chinese philosophy, Song-Ming Neo-Confucianism, Buddhist philosophy, and Contemporary Neo-Confucianism. The workshop will be momentous for Japanese scholarly circles in this area because it will be the first such workshop in which seven Japanese scholars on Chinese philosophy will all present papers in English.

    It is my sincere hope that this workshop will be of help for a comprehensive understanding of what Japanese and Taiwanese scholars have attained to this point, are working on now, and envision as the future of their research. Furthermore, I hope to stimulate scholarly multilateral interactions between Japan and the US in particular, for as the situation stands now, there is next to no meaningful dialogue between scholars of Chinese philosophy in these two countries.

    Comment by Scott Barnwell | March 20, 2010 | Reply


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