Monday, June 27, 2016

461. Capacity to Accept Other Cultures Makes Better Diplomacy

We send our congratulations to Dr. Dave Wang, professor at St. John's University in New York and the historian behind The U.S. Founders and China blog site.

Word reached us that two essays by Dr. Wang have been published in the Virginia Review of Asian Studies (Volume 18, 2016): -Ideas from the East: American Founders and Chinese Wisdom.
-The Capacity to Accept Other Cultures Makes Better Diplomacy: Dr. Wilton Dillon's Support of My Research on the U.S. Founders and China.

The Virginia Review of Asian Studies (VRAS) is an annual online publication of the Virginia Consortium of Asian Studies (VCAS) and the Department of Asian Studies at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

460. Confucius, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Leading by Morals

Confucius maintained that the masses should be led by leaders who governed through their virtue rather than through their laws. He believed that if a government rested its rule entirely on laws, its people would try to escape punishment and have no sense of shame.  Therefore, he reasoned that if the people were led by virtue, they would possess a sense of shame and follow their leaders through their own will.

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine were the two founders that pointed out the importance of morals during the inception of the United States. In 1778, two years after American colonists declared their independence, Franklin emphasized the significance of morality. He pointed out the necessity of governing with morality, especially for the leaders of the United States. He told fellow Americans that laws were not enough for the new nation. He used his experiences to advice Americans on the importance of virtues. Franklin raised the question, “What can laws do without morals?” He clearly expressed that he believed, without morals, the human society “will in a course of minutes become corrupt like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched.”

Thomas Paine believed that Confucian morals were necessary for politicians in their political debate. He raised Confucius’ virtual principles during his political polemic with the federalists. To support his argument against the federalists, Thomas Paine quoted Confucian moral principles to criticize their moral faults. He told these federalists to follow Confucian teachings so they could be worthy to argue with: “I recommend to them the observance of a commandment” regulated by Confucius, “that existed before either Christian or Jew existed.”  He then listed Confucius principles “Thou shalt make a covenant with thy senses, With thine eye, that it beholds no evil. With thine ear, that it hear no evil. With thy tongue, that it speak no evil. With thy hands that they cemmit no evils.”

Monday, June 20, 2016

459. The Consistency between Confucius Moral Philosophy and the Founder's Insistence on the Nececcity of a Moral Citizenry

I usually delete all spam emails. However, today I accidently found an email notifying me that my paper has stimulated discussion in his group of studying Confucianism. I am very happy to find some posts from the discussion. I quote one of the posts here below. I am sure that my readers would like to read it .
"Absolutely fascinating. Wang does a good job of demonstrating the consistency between Ruist self-cultivation and the founders' insistence on the necessity of a moral citizenry. The evidence of the founders' reverence for Confucius will be a great help in promoting Ruism in the U.S.

It would be very interesting if Wang explored the tension between the idea of Confucian moral leadership ("Confucius taught that a perfect leader could create a perfect world through moral strength and example") and the founders' insistence on restricting the powers of political leaders. Jefferson, for example, said, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

On one hand, the founders placed a great deal of emphasis on moral self-cultivation of the people. But they also placed a great deal of emphasis on restraining the powers of government under the rule of law and "checks and balances" because they believed that men couldn't really be trusted to wield too much power."

Thank you, Ben Butina, great points.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

458. Dr. Dillon's Solution to Dr. Samuel Huntington’s Warning on Conflicts amongst Nations

As a cultural anthropologist, Dr. Dillon understood the significance of mutual cultural acceptance in the development of human history. In his book, SmithsonianStories: Chronicle of a Golden Age, 1964-1984, he emphasized the importance of learning from other cultures. This book is widely regarded as one of the most important books on the cultural history of the United States. In this work, Dr. Dillon proposed a solution to Dr. Samuel Huntington’s warnings of increasing conflicts amongst nations: as Dr. Dillon stated, “Celebrating one nation’s cultural gifts to another—and especially, the capacity to receive—makes for good diplomacy.” Dr. Dillon suggested that by embracing positive elements from foreign cultures, just as the Founding Fathers adopted Confucian moral philosophies and other Chinese ideas, world leaders could create a better world ahead. With the continuous globalization of human society, Dr. Dillon’s proposal of the capacity to receive other cultural influences will become increasingly relevant in an increasingly multicultural world.

The above is from Dr. Dave Wang's Article,
The Capacity to Accept Other Cultures Makes Better Diplomacy: Dr. Wilton Dillon’s Support of My Research on the US Founders and China, in Virginia Review of Asian Studies, Volume 18, 2016.

Monday, June 13, 2016

457. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, Host, Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim

The following is from the Weblog : Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim

Word reached me that Dr. Dave Wang, one of our previous guests on Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim, was a featured speaker at the Translation and Transmission in the Early Americas: The Fourth Early Americanist Summit held at the University of Maryland on June 5, 2016. 

Dr. Wang is internationally famous for his research, publications and lectures worldwide on the influence of Chinese civilization on the American Founders in the eighteenth century. Go to his blog to learn more. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

456. 美国华裔教授专家网转载《桥报》报道

华裔教授专家网 Chinese American Professors and Professional News Network 转载了关于王小良博士的报道。

美国华裔教授專家网(简称Scholars Net)是一个非政治的跨学科高层次人才组织,成立于1991年。现有成员16,000余人,分布在中国及世界各地,大部份居住在美国。以博、硕士以上学位的学者、专业人士和教科研及政府部门精英为主。十余年来一直以发放电子周刊《即时通讯》为主要联络方式,并积极宣传、策划、组织和参与美中科技、教育、文化交流活动,安排大陆港台高等学府代表团访美交流,选送专家教授代表团赴中国讲学,组织庞大留学人员代表团出席广州留交会(1998-2009),为2010年世博会在美国组织数千人签名造势活动,及时发放美中高校、科教研专业组织及政府讯息。这是一个集纳海内外高层次精英人才的团体,一个提供留学人员资讯最快的平台,一个永不关闭的电子交流联络系统,一个服务高级知识分子和专业人士的通讯工具,也是一座沟通海内高科技、高等教育和人才合作的桥梁。

Saturday, June 11, 2016

455. Translating and Transmitting Chinese Culture in the Early Americas


For the very first time, in the history of early American studies, the program: Translating Asia in the Early Americas and the EarlyModern Atlantic World was conducted in the University of Maryland on June 5, 2016. It was one of the various programs at Translation and Transmission in the Early Americas: The Fourth Early Americanist ‘Summit’.

This historical moment was recorded in the picture below. With this post I show you the scholars who made the program happen. From the left to the Right, Dr. Dave Wang, (Queens Library at Laurelton), Wisdom from the East: The American Founding and its Founders’ Efforts to Draw Intelligence from Chinese Civilization,  Juan Velasco (Santa Clara University), From Asia to the Americas: Acts of Translation in Eighteenth-Century Jesuit Writings, Michelle Burnham (Santa Clara University) co-presenter with Dr. Velasco, Nancy E. Hoffmann (Villanova University), John Bartram’s Essay on Confucius (n.d.), Sara E. Johnson (University of California, San Diego), La retraite chinoise: A Material and Print Culture History of a Colonialist Outpost in1790s Philadelphia and Chair: Eyda Merediz (University of Maryland) served as the chair of the program. I was impressed by her thorough research on presenters' academic background.

The credit should be also given to the summit committee, including Dr. Ralph Bauer (University of Maryland) , Dr. Allison Bigelow (University of Virginia) , Dr. Alejandra Dubcovsky (Yale University) Dr. Patrick Erben (University of West Georgia) , Dr. Carlos Jáuregui (University of Notre Dame) and Dr. Luis Fernando Restrepo (University of Arkansas)

The Summit was co-sponsored by the Society of Early Americanists (SEA), the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (OIEAHC), the Kislak Family Foundation, the Buckner W. Clay Endowment at the University of Virginia Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and the University of Maryland.


454. 王小良早期美国峰会抛新观点



  王小良在此次峰会期间探讨了美国是如何以中国的“以试取士”制度来完善美国的民主制度。他表示,在引进中国的文官考试制度前,美国实行的是“奖赏制度”(Spoil system),即官员把政府中的重要职位分给在选举中为自己获胜做出贡献的人。这一制度始于美国开国元勋之一的托马斯·杰裴逊(1743-1826)。杰裴逊痛恨以血缘关系来决定政府官员的封建世袭制度,而美国革命的胜利,尤其是在1800年总统选举中的胜利,使得杰裴逊有机会来改革这一制度。于是他采用了“奖赏”制度,把政府中的重要职位分给在选举中为自己获胜做出贡献的人,这一做法就这样延续下来。从血缘决定论到奖赏制度,无疑是历史的进步。
  但是,王小良表示,随着历史的发展,奖赏制度的弊病也显现出来。它没有实现把机会公平分给每一个公民的建国宗旨,而是偏向于自己的支持者。该制度引发的不满也导致严重的社会问题,甚至于造成第20届美国总统詹姆斯·伽费尔德 (James Garfield 1831-1881)被一个未得到政府工作职位的支持者刺杀。痛定思痛,血的教训促使美国政府下决心改革奖赏制度,采取中国的按照孔子“学而优则士”的思想建立的录取公务员的制度。

 熟悉王小良研究工作的加州大学圣地亚哥分校的Sara Johnson教授、加州Santa Clara大学的Michelle Burnham,以及Juan Velasco教授、来自Villanova大学的Nancy Hoffman教授等学者也一起出席会议,共同探讨古代中国文明对美国殖民地的影响,包括18世纪耶稣会传教过程中对中华经典的翻译,1790年代在费城流传的中国瓷器和中国典籍翻译,以及John Bartram(1699-1777)关于孔子的论文等等。

  本届早期美国峰会也就殖民地时期美国社会对外国文学和文化的翻译及传播进行了广泛讨论。峰会由“早期美国学会“(Society of Early Americanists)奥马翰祚美国早期历史文化研究院(Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture),弗吉尼亚大学人文和全球文化研究院,以及马里兰大学等联合组织举办。