Seminars

  • Founded
    1979
  • Seminar Number
    567

This seminar examines the formation, development, and role of Neo-Confucian thought in China, Japan, and Korea. The relationship between Neo-Confucianism and other aspects of the history of East Asia is considered, and on occasion, intellectual responses to Neo-Confucianism are also examined. The seminar circulates copies of papers to its members prior to meetings.


Co-Chairs
Ari Borrell
arinborrell@gmail.com

Tao Jiang
tjiang@rutgers.edu

On-cho Ng
oxn1@psu.edu

Rapporteur
Weiling Kong
wk2363@columbia.edu

Meeting Schedule

10/06/2023 Heyman Center, Columbia University
3:30 PM
TBD
Hagop Sarkissian, CUNY Baruch College/Graduate Center




12/01/2023 Heyman Center, Columbia University
3:30 PM
Political Thinking in a Classless Society
Dongxian Jiang, Fordham University
Abstract

Abstract

Abstract: What makes China unique in the world? In political theory, most scholars treat Confucianism as the intellectual and cultural legacy that makes China different from other societies. This article aims to answer this question differently. It argues that since the late nineteenth century when comparative historical sociology was systematically introduced to China, important political thinkers attributed China’s uniqueness to the fact that it had been a “classless society” under a despotism for two millennia. The lack of hereditary aristocracy and the reverence for social mobility under a despotism, in the eyes of Chinese thinkers, were both a curse and a blessing: A curse, because societies with a long history of feudalism and aristocracy tend to build a representative democracy more easily; a blessing, either because China would directly evolve into a more radical form of democracy once despotism is deposed, or because China can show the world a unique form of government: a meritocratic democracy. This paper focuses on Liang Qichao’s early political thought to exemplify how Chinese political thinkers reflect on representative democracy in a “classless society.”





02/02/2024 Heyman Center, Columbia University
3:30 PM
TBD
Baldwin Wong, Hong Kong Baptist University




04/05/2024 Heyman Center, Columbia University
3:30 PM
TBD
Wenqing Zhao, CUNY Baruch College