From Bamboo Slips to Screens: The Reading of Confucian Classics in East Asia, from the Warring States to the Twenty-First Century

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: From Bamboo Slips to Screens: The Reading of Confucian Classics in East Asia, from the Warring States to the Twenty-First Century
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Panelists:
Yi Shan, The Ohio State University, United States (organizer, presenter)
Hyeonung Jo, The Academy of Korean Studies, South Korea (presenter)
Yukun Zeng, University of Chicago, United States (presenter)
Boqun Zhou, Tsinghua-Michigan Society of Fellows, United States (presenter)
Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Sophia University, Japan (chair, discussant)

Abstract:

Our panel provides a broad and yet focused discussion of the reading, interpreting, and reproducing of Confucian classics in different times and spaces in East Asia. We aim to understand how the meaning of the classics was understood, interpreted, and transmitted within different socio-political and historical contexts, and how these processes were influenced, if not shaped, by the different material and technological conditions. This multi-disciplinary panel consists of four case studies: recently excavated Warring States bamboo slips, 18th-century Joseon scholars’ reinterpretation of the Analects, the collating and republishing processes by the Qing evidential scholars, and the contemporary spiritualized reading of Confucian classics in Taiwan. The modes of reading, interpreting, and reproducing of the classics by different people in different times and spaces reveal the positioning of these classics in relation to the changing material world, the expanding corpus of knowledge, the varying nature of political authority, and the ever-diversifying intellectual and religious life. This panel also hopes to provoke the discussion of a few methodological questions: how do we understand and situate the classics in the intellectual and spiritual lives of Confucian scholars as both canonized texts and material objects? How do the modes of reading, interpreting, and reproducing of the classics inform us about the nature and significance of Confucianism/Neo-Confucianism in different historical contexts?