Presentation at ENOJP 2 (Brussels)

Conferences
Exactly one year ago, in December 2016, I was in Brussels for the 2nd Conference of the European Network of Japanese Philosophy, talking about Andō Shōeki and his vision of the human being in the shihōsei, the "world of the private law". The presentation was a sequel to the one I did in Barcelona in 2015, about the creative use of language and the coinage of new philosophical concepts. The ENOJP members behind the scenes did a great job and edited the video of the presentation, including the slides I used at the time. I really have a strange feeling when I see myself on video, and one year later (and wiser) I would change many things in the slides and in the way I present, but I think sharing…
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CFP: Japan in the World, the World in Japan

CFP
Three very dear friends of mine are involved in organizing a conference focusing on the methodology of teaching (in) Japan - they just announced the call for papers for the next iteration of the conference and, with their permission, I pasted it here. (I also uploaded the pdf file here to make it easier to circulate the announcement.) *** Call for Papers We are pleased to announce the third “Japan in the World and the World in Japan: A Methodological Approach” annual symposium. This year’s event will be held at the Center for Japanese Language and Culture, Osaka University (Minoh Campus), on March 3rd and 4th, 2018. The symposium focuses on the secondary and tertiary level instruction of subjects related to Japan (history, culture, literature, etc) in a cosmopolitan way…
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ENOJP 3 in Paris

Conferences
The 3rd ENOJP conference in Paris just ended a few days ago, but I didn't get around to write about it until now. I am still a bit jet lagged after a week in Europe, and concentrating on teaching and on the interaction with the students when your body is telling you to go to sleep is no easy task... Plus, I wanted to let everything sink in, so I can ruminate on things quietly and thoroughly - the three days of the conference were full to the brim with intellectual stimuli and my brain needed a rest to absorb and process all the information. Not to mention that we were at the INALCO and at the Sorbonne! I listened to several insightful presentations, and I attended the best keynote…
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A New Theory of the Earth

Philosophy
As I was working on my presentation on Yamagata Bantō's philosophical discourse for the ENOJP conference in Paris, I started to look more thoroughly into the various influences that informed his Yume no shiro 夢の代, the encyclopedic work he finished in 1820. And this is how I came across an extremely interesting text from 1696, William Whiston's A New Theory of the Earth - apparently, the text was translated in Japanese as 『西洋天話』 by Hashimoto Sōkichi, one of the most prominent rangaku scholars in early 19th century Osaka. Bantō read it, was fascinated with the model of the solar system that Whiston proposed (cometary catastrophism included) and then later used as a basis for his own model. But the most fascinating thing about Whiston's book is probably the full title: A New Theory…
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Shouldn’t we talk about this?

Education
Yesterday, I read an article about how Cambridge University students got trigger warnings related to the content of some the works they were supposed to read and discuss in class. Apparently, one of the persons in charge of the English lectures flagged any session containing material that could be deemed "upsetting" with a red triangle and an exclamation mark - including Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, among others. (The full article is here, on the BBC website.) I read Titus Andronicus a long time ago and my memory is a bit fuzzy - I do remember some sexual violence in the play, but it's about so much more than that. Power, control, politics, intrigues, plots... so much more. And even if it were about sexual violence, shouldn't we talk about this? Isn't that…
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EJJP 2

Philosophy
The second issue of the European Journal of Japanese Philosophy (EJJP) is just out this week from Chisokudō Publications, in time for the conference in Paris. And, honestly, I can't wait to hold it in my hands and then stick my nose in between the freshly printed pages - yes, I confess, I'm addicted to the exhilarating smell of new books. And only after imbibing the smell of ink and paper will I also imbibe the knowledge... For this issue, I contributed a translation into Romanian of Andō Shōeki's parable of the birds from his Shizen shin'eidō, and a book review. The complete Table of contents and the Introduction are available here.  I know that Takeshi and Gerrit, the editors, worked really hard to put together this issue (as they…
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Between work and a good book

academia
The other day, I came across an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about How to Live Less Anxiously in Academe, written by two fellow academics from Britain and Sweden, Carl Cederström and Michael Marinetto. They offer four tips (or, steps as they call them) on how to deal with stress and, basically, try to have an academic career without becoming overwhelmed by it: 1) Kill your institutional aspirations, 2) Be an amateur, 3) Stop writing badly and 4) Start teaching well. For the whole discussion, I recommend the article at the link above. I must confess I enjoyed reading the article, even though I don't completely agree with some of their points. But I did nod in vigorous agreement over a couple of passages, especially on step 4, as…
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3rd Conference of the European Network for Japanese Philosophy

Conferences
Only a couple of weeks left until the 3rd Annual Conference of the ENOJP, this time in Paris! I'm really excited about this, because the first two conferences (Barcelona 2015 and Brussels 2016) were excellent. And I am saying this for two reasons: first of all, for the quality of the presentations and keynote speeches and for the intensity of the debates; second of all, for the atmosphere of the conferences, with so much vibrant energy floating around and so many young people engaging with philosophical ideas. The ENOJP might be a nascent association, but I feel it has a lot of potential as it provides researchers in Japanese philosophy with a platform where they can share ideas, discuss projects and publications, form networks or simply become friends. I gained…
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5th Conference “Japan: Premodern, Modern, and Contemporary”

Conferences
In 2010, four friends and colleagues got together and came up with the idea to organize a Japanese Studies conference at the "Dimitrie Cantemir" Christian University in Bucharest, Romania. Two of them live and work in Japan (Kyoto University and Kobe University), and the other two are the heart and soul of the Japanese language department at said university. The idea had been floating around for a while, but they decided that the time was right and... just did it. They talked about it, came up with a concept, applied for funding and organized the first conference in 2011. From the get-go, the idea was to create a wide network of knowledge about Japan and Japanese Studies (literature, culture, history, linguistics, etc), which would bring together young, as well as…
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