Call for Papers: “Zhu Xi and his Efforts for Renewal: Innovation, Social Reform and Epistemology 朱子知識論與社會革新” International Conference

Trier, Germany
11 – 12th Jul 2015
Deadline: 20th Nov 2014

The emergence of daoxue Confucianism in the 11th and 12th centuries is a pivotal point in
the history of Chinese thought, often considered to be the beginning of a new era (as the
controversial term “Neo-Confucian” illustrates). During the second half of the 20 th century,
scholars have profoundly explored the new approach of Zhu Xi and others of his era to-
ward ethics, self-cultivation and metaphysics. In more recent times, the horizon has been
further enlarged by significant studies of the social efforts by members of the daoxue fel-

Zhu Xi’s endeavors for social reform involve more than a mere historical issue, since they
have special relevance for contemporary China. Current discussions about the Confucian
revival in the PRC take place not only within ideological circles close to the Communist
Party, but also in a broader public; furthermore, some public intellectuals are striving to
reshape Zhu Xi’s ideas (such as his family rituals) to fit the needs of modern civil culture.
In spite of the potential applicability of Zhu Xi’s thought, he tended to avoid emphasizing
that he was championing something “new”, stating that his ideas truly conformed to the
original ideas of Confucius. Therefore, it is worthwhile to closely examine philosophically
the implementation of the idea “reform” or “renewal”, which – for example – is manifested
in the epistemological perspective of “extending knowledge” (zhizhi 致知), or the idealistic
notion of “renewing the people” (xinmin 新民).
Our conference seeks an historically comprehensive approach, bringing together all the
above mentioned aspects as they evolved over the course of history, but particularly during
Zhu Xi’s own Song era and also in Chinese modernity.
In order to strengthen contacts between the community of “Zhu Xi studies” from China
with European and American scholars, we will use both English and Chinese as conference
languages.We welcome papers on a broad range of topics, such as the following:

Daoxue scholars and the “origins” of Confucianism
Zhu Xi’s epistemology
Zhu Xi and the renewal of the people (xinmin 新民); Zhu Xi and social change
Zhu Xi’s relation to the “new learning” (xinxue 新學) of Wang Anshi
Zhu Xi’s thought in the context of reshaping modern Chinese society
Zhu Xi’s rituals in modern China

Scholars interested in participating are kindly asked to send their paper title and a (prelim-
inary) abstract of about 150 to 300 words no later than November 20 2014 via e-mail to:
Prof. Dr. Christian Soffel .

Sincerely yours,

The Organizers
Christian Soffel (Trier University)
Hoyt Cleveland Tillman (Arizona State University)

Conference Homepage:




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