James Legge: Missions to China and the Origins of Sinology
University of Edinburgh, 11–13 June 2015
Deadline for proposals: 31 March 2015
Inside and outside of China, there is a growing scholarly debate around how foreigners have contributed to and, at times, maligned prevailing understandings of Chinese philosophy, religion, and culture. One of the most important figures in these discussions is James Legge, the Scottish missionary-scholar to China, and translator of Chinese writings into English and Christian writings into Chinese. As 2015 will be the bicentennial of Legge’s birth, the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for the Study of World Christianity, in collaboration with the Scottish Centre for Chinese Studies, plans to hold an international and interdisciplinary conference to be held on 11–13 June 2015 at the University of Edinburgh, where Legge received an honorary doctorate (LLD) in 1884.
Under the theme ‘James Legge: Missions to China and the Origins of Sinology’ we hope to revisit Legge from multiple disciplinary orientations, including missions history, theology, sinology, cultural and literary studies, and education. The conference will feature two evening keynote public lectures delivered by Lauren Pfister (Hong Kong Baptist University) and Yang Huilin (Renmin University of China), providing critical readings of James Legge from Western and Chinese vantage points respectively. The conference organisers welcome proposals for a 20–25min oral presentation, which will be followed by a brief discussion. While not meant to be exhaustive, some guiding questions for proposals include:
• How has Legge’s work stimulated or hindered the developments of sinology, comparative religion, or today’s ‘classical studies fever’ (guoxue re)?
• In what ways can Legge be fruitfully compared with other late 19th and early 20th century European interpreters of ‘the Orient’ like Max Müller, Robert Morrison, Timothy Richard, John Ross, etc., or with his Chinese collaborators He Jinshan, Wang Tao, Hong Rengan, etc.?
• How has the legacy of Legge affected the developments of Chinese Christianity?
• What can be said of the cultural and literary contributions of Legge, and the
hermeneutical methodologies he employed?
• To what extent should Legge be understood as an educator, particularly from his time
in the Anglo-Chinese College or in the University of Oxford?
Inquiries and proposals can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for proposals is 31 March 2015, and should include a title, an abstract of 250–300 words, and a brief biographical note of 2–3 lines. Decisions on proposals will be given by 30 April 2015.
Conference delegates will be expected to find their own funding for travel, accommodations, and a nominal registration fee. Delegates from China can consider applying for a grant from the Universities’ China Committee in London.