if you happen to be in Taipei this wednesday, you are cordially invited to join us for the upcoming lecture at the International Center for Chinese Philosophy (ICCP), Soochow University:
This week, the famous French sinologist François Jullien is in Taibei for a series of academic events (among others, he participates in a conference at National Central University, see http://ncu33013.blogspot.tw/2012/09/blog-post.html). It is no exaggeration to call Jullien the most famous sinologist in the West. His books have been enthusiastically received by the public, and he is probably the only living scholar writing on pre-modern Chinese thought who has made a visible impact on the field of philosophy – at least in France where philosophers like Alain Badiou and Jean-François Lyotard have endorsed his very particular view of what philosophy should be. But also, to some extent, in Germany where, in 2010, he has received the prestigious Hannah-Arendt price for political thinking.
During this and next week, a series of academic events is taking place at Soochow University in Taipei that might be of interest to you.
In memoriam Chen Cheng-po…
Yesterday we had a day off in Taiwan and I spent a rainy afternoon visiting the 2-28 Memorial Museum in downtown Taipei. I have been there before, but this time it was quite different, especially since I had the chance to look at some new documents. In particular the biography of one person was deeply moving: the Taiwanese painter Chen Cheng-po 陳澄波 (also known as Chin To-Ha). He was born in 1895 in Chia-Yi, studied arts in Tokyo and went on to become a famous painter in Taiwan and the broader Chinese-speaking world (especially oil paintings). After the liberation of Taiwan from the Japanese occupation, he got involved into politics and was elected into the local parliament at Chia-Yi. After the 2-28 Incident, he tried to negotiate between the Guomindang and the local population. However, he was executed without any particular reason in broad daylight on March 25th of 1947.
I think it might interest you that the Taiwanese Research Council has just sent a research team to Germany (including Lee Ming-huei, Fabian Heubel, me, and a couple of other Taiwanese scholars) that will be involved in a series of workshops and discussions with German sinology and philosophy departments during this week and next week (see the schedule below). I think this is a rare opportunity to foster the intercultural dialogue between the fields of Chinese philosophy and German philosophy (notice that there will be one event at the very prestigious Institut fuer Sozialforschung in Frankfurt). If you are interested in any of these events, please contact me and I will send you more details. Of course you are all welcome to join us if you happen to be in one of these places in the coming days!
During the last weeks, I have been thinking about how to write my first entry in this blog. Too much work and some kind of reticence held me back for many days. However, after having discovered Alexus McLeod’s thoughts on Proust and Confucius (on his Unpolished Jade Blog), I finally sat down and decided that it would be most appropriate to begin my first entry with a deep (ironical) bow to Henry James’ Isabel Archer…
Why Isabel Archer? Because she gives a wonderful example of the moral and cultural sensitivity we all need of when writing about Chinese philosophy. Also, because her case stands for a certain paradigm of (American/Western) modernity which still influences our thoughts and which, I guess, also motivates us to search for a constructive dialogue with the “Chinese mind”. And, finally, there is Isabel’s intriguing “fear”: her being frightened by Warburton’s offer, of Caspar Goodwood’s persistence, of Gilbert Osmond’s anger, her fear of cultural alienation, her fear of herself – somehow, I believe, this fear inhabits us all, being embedded in a Western cultural/philosophical framework, but being convinced at the same time of the necessity of “opening up”, engaging “the other”. In one word, Isabel Archer could remind us of the deeper tensions and darker forces which are at work today between the different cultural worlds. Certainly, she wouldn’t want us to buy too easily into a narrative of global harmony… Continue reading