07.15. TALK: Daoist Answers to American Questions: How the Daodejing and Zhuangzi might respond to contemporary social issues


Can Laozi offer any insights into the debate on abortion in the US?  What could Zhuangzi contribute to the controversy over same sex marriage?  These are not questions the ancient philosophers pondered themselves, but the books they left us can provide new perspectives on contentious modern controversies.

You’re invited to a July 15 talk by Dr. Sam Crane on “Daoist Answers to American Questions,” in which he will explore how the Daodejing and Zhuangzi can cast light on contemporary American social debates.


About the Speaker: Sam 4

Dr. Sam Crane is a professor of political science at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he teaches courseson Chinese politics, East Asian international relations, and ancient Chinese philosophy.  His most recent book – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life (Wiley, 2013) – uses insights from pre-Qin Confucian and Daoist texts to reflect upon contemporary US social and ethical issues.





Reviews about Dr. Crane’s Book:

“Sam Crane’s new book is a richly rewarding exploration of the ancient Chinese values and insights that have been the focus of his academic research, in connection with the deepest questions of personal and public ethics in the modern United States. Every chapter draws from Crane’s scholarship but also from his unsparing description of wrenching choices in his own life. Readers who are China specialists will learn more about its traditions; readers who are not will have new tools and concepts with which to understand their own societies, institutions, and creeds.

—James Fallows, of The Atlantic, author of China Airborn
“Sam Crane has written a lively and insightful guide to China’s two key philosophical schools—Confucianism and Daoism—by looking at how they would deal with today’s problems in western countries. Abortion, education, crime, dealing with the mentally challenged: by exploring how China’s greatest philosophical schools might have dealt with them, we learn not only about these ancient ways of thought but also take away innovative ways of looking at our own society. Sprinkled with humorous and touching first-person anecdotes, Crane has given us a truly innovative and fascinating book aimed at general readers.”

—Ian Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China
“Sam Crane’s erudite writing on ancient Chinese philosophy in the modern era gives us a new window on some of the most hotly discussed issues in American society today, from democracy to sex.

—Edward Wong, China Correspondent, The New York Times


Date: July 15, 2015 (Wednesday)

Time: 19:30 – 21:00

Language: English

Admission: RMB50 (RMB20 for students)

RSVP: Please click on the following link to reserve a ticket online: https://yoopay.cn/event/76897859


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