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Public Relations
Posted: Wednesday Mar 14, 2012

March 14, 2012

Saint Vincent College School of Humanities and Fine Arts and The James and Margaret Tseng Loe China Studies Center will celebrate the designation of its University of Pittsburgh Confucius Classroom by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in the Performing Arts Center of the Robert S. Carey Student Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

Keynote speaker will be Dr. Henry Rosemont, Jr., visiting professor of religious studies at Brown University and the George B. and Wilma Reeves Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts Emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He is concurrently the general editor of the Dimensions of Asian Spirituality series for the University of Hawai’i Press. His topic will be “Individual Freedom and Human Rights vs Social Justice: A Confucian Meditation.”

“Although more than 160 nations have ratified the U.N. International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, the United States has not,” Dr. Rosemont noted. “In significant measure this is due to grounding the concept of human rights in a view of human beings as essentially free, autonomous individuals. In this way civil and political rights have been straightforwardly championed and legally defended, but so has a blame-the-victim view for explaining stark social and economic injustice despite its manifest falsity.”

“Social, economic and cultural rights will have little place in a conceptual framework based on foundational individualism in a capitalist society, as the rise of the ‘tea party’ in the U.S. shows clearly,” Dr. Rosemont continued. “Grounding the concept of human beings in their interrelatedness, however, Confucians can easily champion both sets of rights, giving their role ethics – as distinguished from Western theories of deontological, consequentialist, or virtue ethics – a claim on the attention today of everyone alarmed at the increasing gap between the super-rich and the impoverished both at home and abroad.”

Prior to the lecture, Dr. Tingting Guo, Saint Vincent College’s Hanban professor and Chinese director of the University of Pittsburgh Confucius Institute, will present Saint Vincent officials with a Confucius Classroom plaque.

Dr. Rosemont holds a bachelor of arts degree with honors in philosophy and history from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Washington. He has pursued post-doctoral studies in linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied under Noam Chomsky.

He is the author of A Chinese Mirror (1991), Rationality & Religious Experience (2001), Is There a Universal Grammar of Religion? (With Huston Smith, 2008)), and more than 80 articles, review articles and reviews in anthologies, scholarly, and popular journals.

He has edited and/or translated ten other books, including Explorations in Early Chinese Cosmology (1984); Work, Technology & Education: Dissenting Essays in the Foundations of American Education (with W. Feinberg); Leibniz: Writings on China (with D.J. Cook; 1994); and with Roger T. Ames, The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation (1998), and The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: Xiaojing (2009).

Dr. Rosemont has also published numerous political essays in Z Magazine, the Raven, In These Times, Social Anarchism, the Resist Newsletter, Foreign Policy in Focus, and the Op-Ed pages of the Baltimore Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Providence Journal, and has been the subject of numerous radio and television interviews in the U.S., Asia and Europe.

He was book review editor of Philosophy East & West from 1972 to 1988, and remains a member of its editorial board, along with past and/or continuing service on the board of editors of Modern China, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Contemporary Chinese Thought, and Religion East & West.

He was a founding member of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy in 1967, its president 1976-78, editor of the Society’s monograph series from 1974 to 2002, and received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society in 1993. He has lectured at more than 175 colleges, universities and conference venues in the United States, Canada, Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, East and Southeast Asia and Australia.

The recipient of post-doctoral fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, NSF, and the Fulbright Program, Dr. Rosemont has spent much of his academic career at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, (Outstanding Teaching Award, 1991), Fudan University (Shanghai; Senior Professor) and Johns Hopkins University – SAIS, where he also won an Excellence in Teaching award in 2002. Since then he has been on the faculty of Brown University, where he is currently Visiting Professor of Religious Studies.

After the lecture, Dr. Rosemont will host a book-signing in the lobby of the Carey Center.

Dr. Tina Philips Johnson, assistant professor of history at Saint Vincent College and director of Saint Vincent College’s China Studies Program, is coordinating arrangements for the dedication.

Dr. Johnson, who will manage the Confucius Classroom activities, teaches courses on East Asian History, has developed curricula and planned and led two previous student tours to Asia. She has also presented her research on reproductive health in modern China at several international conferences and she has received a Junior Scholar Grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange in 2008. Dr. Johnson recently published a book based on her dissertation research, Childbirth in Republican China: Delivering Modernity (Lexington Books, 2011), and is currently working on the China Medical Board centenary project, to which she is contributing her expertise on public health in 20th century China.


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