On June 29-30, 2013, WEIB and IAHS jointly hosted a workshop on “Zhang Junmai and Modern China” in Henry Hall of the Tan Siu Lin International Center. The workshop was conceived by Prof. Tu Weiming and invited leading scholars from home and abroad. The participants took this opportunity to discuss the Chinese modernity and the intellectual transformations of modern China.
A towering figure in contemporary Chinese political, ideological, and constitutional history, Zhang Junmai was active in both political and intellectual circles throughout his life. His works cover the Chinese constitution, politics, ideologies, Confucian intellectual history, neo-Confucian philosophy, democratic socialism, and etc. He also introduced western philosophy and constitutionalism to China. The scholarship on Zhang Junmai, both domestic and international, has reached considerable heights. So a platform was urgently needed for academic exchange between the Zhang Junmai scholars and the scholars of Chinese intellectual history.
The research at WEIB explores the prospect of global ethics and focuses on the significance of Chinese culture and ethics for the rationality and well-being of the global community. WEIB has invested many resources in researching about Confucian ethics, entailing the early Qin dynasty, Ming, Qing dynasties, and modern China. Zhang Junmai’s thoughts concern not only the problems of modern China but also those of human beings in general, asking questions such as how modern men/women ought to learn, act, and hope. The participants of the workshop discussed the thoughts of Zhang as well as Chinese politics, society, and culture from various aspects.
Mr. Wang Rongzu, historian and Professor of the National Central University in Taiwan, reviewed the political history from World War II to the founding of People’s Republic of China, especially the third-party influences other than the Communist Party and Kuomintang. Professor Zhang Rulun of Fudan University considered it insufficient to understand Zhang Junmai and his fellow intellectuals from merely social and political perspectives and took his readings of Zhang to a philosophical height. Professor Huang Kewu, Director of Taiwan Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, outlined the course and the consequences of the debate between science and metaphysics in which Zhang engaged. Professor Zheng Dahua from the Institute of Modern History of Chinese Academy of Social Science traced the democratic and constitutional ideas of Zhang Junmai through his different periods. Other professors also presented the results of their own research and contributed to fruitful discussions.
WEIB is planning a large-scale international academic conference to continue the discussion about Zhang Junmai and modern China next year.