Student Voices: Research in Chinese Art and Philosophy
Moderator: Prof. Franklin Perkins, Univ. of Hawai‘i–Mānoa, Dept. of Philosophy
Celia Langford, MA candidate in Asian Studies. “Breathing with the Page: Poetry, Painting, and the Subjective Role of the Viewer in Song Dynasty Literati Art.” In Northern Song Dynasty China, the influential poet and painter Su Shi (1037-1101) initiated a groundbreaking shift in perceptions on art, suggesting that poems and paintings were in essence the same thing; what one could do, so could the other. Scholars in the millennium since, including scholars of today, have long debated the nature of this complementarity. While many have focused on similarities in iconography, I will demonstrate here how parallels in the subjective and sensory experiences of the viewer are equally essential to Su Shi’s poem-painting connection.
Michael Dufresne, PhD candidate in Philosophy. “The Worlds of Wang Guowei: A Philosophical Case Study of Coloniality.” The Qing dynasty scholar Wang Guowei (1877–1927) has received little recognition in the philosophical community. Raised to be a scholar official, he gave up this path to pursue the study of Western philosophy, becoming particularly enamored with the works of Kant, Schiller, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. When the Qing dynasty fell in 1911, Wang denounced all his previous research interests and dedicated himself to traditional scholarship, fearing for the future of China’s traditions and cultures. My research into Wang Guowei functions as an exercise in decolonial philosophy, highlighting the impacts of coloniality on his thinking while attempting to revitalize his theories in view of decoloniality.
Bobby McCullough, PhD candidate in Philosophy. “The Moral Status of Ends and Means in the Han Feizi.” The most common interpretation of political thought in the Han Feizi is that it advocates for immoral or amoral political practices for the sake of consolidating power in the hands of the monarch. I aim to offer a new interpretation of the text that considers separately the moral components of political ends and means and I argue that moral considerations are at the heart of Han Feizi’s political project. My interpretation more seriously considers the axiological underpinnings of Han Feizi’s political thought and allows us additional insight into the motivations behind the fajia school of thought in Warring States China.