Global Reception of the Classic Zhuangzi: Han to Tang (Day 2)

Conference/Symposium | March 9 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | Institute of East Asian Studies (Golden Bear Center, 1995 University Ave., 5th floor), IEAS Conference Room (510A)

 Center for Chinese Studies (CCS), Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, Eliaser Chair in International Studies

The classic Zhuangzi 莊子, a collection of sayings and anecdotes traditionally attributed to Zhuang Zhou 莊周 (trad. 369-286 BCE), has deeply influenced cultural life in East Asia and beyond. A key text in East Asian religious and literary history, it is still routinely cited in diverse discussions of ethics and philosophy, and informs practices from calligraphy to landscape painting. Despite its importance in East Asia, classrooms and journals around the world rarely engage the text’s influence over the last two millennia. Today, we tend to read the Zhuangzi as a literary expression or through the lens of the academic disciplines of philosophy or religious studies. In this first of a series of workshops on the global reception of the Zhuangzi, we are bringing together experts on the classic’s early reception history to talk about the multifarious responses the Zhuangzi has triggered through the first eight or ten centuries of its circulation from the Han to the Tang period. Over history, the text has been multivocal and mutable, resisting narrowly defined categories and academic disciplines.