Conférence sur Zhuangzi

The Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary is pleased to present a Yehan Numata lecture in Buddhist Studies:

« Zhuangzi and the Tragedy of Personal Freedom in Chinese History » on October 29, 2021 3:00 – 4:30pm

Please register in advance for this free online lecture

About the talk: This talk is based on Prof. Jiang’s new book, Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China: Contestation of Humaneness, Justice, and Personal Freedom (Oxford 2021). Zhuangzi was an extraordinary figure in the history of Chinese philosophy. Within the context of overwhelming early Chinese emphasis on order, Zhuangzi single-handedly opened up a critical space for the discourse on personal freedom. The Zhuangist freedom thrives in personal space with its characteristic ambivalence toward the state. This made him the singular outlier in the moral-political projects of the classical period. However, such a vision of personal freedom was severely constrained by its aversion to a more active engagement with the state. It would have a lasting impact on the subsequent development of personal freedom in Chinese intellectual and political history, i.e., marginalization and internalization, as well as its lack of institutional impact in the imagination and construction of an ideal Chinese state.

About the Speaker: Tao Jiang is a scholar of classical Chinese philosophy, Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, and cross-cultural philosophy. He is the author of Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China: Contestation of Humaneness, Justice, and Personal Freedom (Oxford, 2021), Contexts and Dialogue: Yogacara Buddhism and Modern Psychology on the Subliminal Mind (Hawai’i, 2006), and the co-editor of The Reception and Rendition of Freud in China (Routledge, 2013). He is chair of the Religion Department and director of the Center for Chinese Studies at Rutgers. Jiang co-chairs the Neo-Confucian Studies Seminar at Columbia University as well as the Buddhist Philosophy Unit at the American Academy of Religion. He serves on the editorial boards of several leading Asian and comparative philosophy journals.