East Asian Confucianisms:
Interactions and Innovations

Jointly Organized by

Rutgers University & National Taiwan University
May 1-2, 2009
University Inn & Conference CenterRutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ
Conference Program


Description of the Conference:
The influence of Confucianism in East Asia is well-recognized.While there are commonalities in the Confucian traditions in East Asian countries it can be argued that each tradition has its own particular features due to each country's special cultural, political, and social conditions.In recent years a field of "East Asian Confucianisms" as a research area has attracted scholars' interest.The purpose of the proposed conference is twofold: on one hand, it aims at expanding the scope of the study of Confucianism and exploring new research questions by transcending the limitations of "state-centrism"; on the other hand, it is concerned with the universal values of Confucianism and at the same time focuses on the dynamic interrelation between Confucian thought and the concrete cultural conditions prevalent in the various regions of East Asia. "East Asian Confucianisms", construed in this manner, should be understood not as a rigid ideology controlled by the state machinery, but rather as a vigorous and dynamic intellectual current that changed according to time and in response to local conditions.Thus in our treatment of "East Asian Confucianisms" we should pay close attention to the concrete and particular social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of the various regions of East Asia as well as the interaction between the different Confucian traditions.Similarly, in discussing "East Asian Confucianisms" we should not consider them as a mere mechanical assemblage or a summation of the Confucianisms in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam.When the Confucianists in the various regions of East Asia recited the texts of Confucius and Mencius, hoping to attain sagehood, they actually already transcended regional boundaries and formed a kind of "Confucian community".While the members of the "Confucian community" took part in the shared heritage of Confucian ideas and values, through their own independent thinking and interpretation of the Confucian texts they shaped the similarities and differences of "East Asian Confucianisms".It is hoped that through such an approach the common elements and special features of Confucian thought in the various regions can be clarified and new topics for study of Confucianism in the 21st century can be identified. Conference Language: English for papers and presentation; both English and Chinese for discussion in Q & A periodConference Date: May 1-2 (Friday and Saturday), 2009 Conference Venue: University Inn & Conference Center, Rutgers University
178 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Main Phone: 732-932-9144
Main Fax: 732-932-6952