Tianxia Workshop: The Revival of Confucianism in China

Sponsored by Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Center for East Asian Studies


Monday, May 9, 2011
12:00 pm –
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Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

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Event Details:

CEAS China Brown Bag, Spring 2010-2011
This talk is part of the Tianxia Workshop series

Daniel A. Bell
Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy and Director of the Center for International and Comparative Political Philosophy, Tsinghua University

Communism has lost its capacity to inspire the Chinese. But what is replacing it? And what should replace it? Clearly, there is a need for a new moral foundation for political rule in China, as well as a new philosophy that can provide moral guidance in everyday life. To the surprise of most Sinologists, the new philosophy does not owe much to Western liberal-democracy. Rather, the old and venerable tradition of Confucianism is being revived and debated by government officials, critical intellectuals, as well as ordinary citizens. In today's talk, Daniel A. Bell will explore the reasons for the revival of Confucianism in China and discuss some proposals for a more progressive form of Confucianism that offers a compelling alternative to Western-style liberal democracy.


May 6-11, 2011
Stanford University

The workshop will gather together a small group of distinguished scholars to engage in sustained conversations on the theoretical implications and practical values of the traditional Chinese vision of world order, or tianxia (all under heaven). This vision anchors a universal authority in the moral, ritualistic, and aesthetic framework of a secular high culture, while providing social and moral criteria for assessing fair, humanitarian governance and proper social relations. Varied discourses indebted to tianxia have resurfaced in modern China in quest of moral and cultural ways of relating to and articulating an international society. We believe that the Chinese vision may prove productive in exploring possibilities of world culture and literature in the tension-ridden yet interconnected world. In this workshop, we will examine the ways in which Chinese thinkers and writers have envisioned China’s place in and as world history and its new responsibility in the interstate world system.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the School of Humanities and Sciences. Major funding is provided by Stanford’s Presidential Fund for Innovation in the Humanities.

Schedule and more event details at:

Please contact Carmen Suen for more information.

Admission Info

Free and open to the public.