Vieša paskaita „Convergence of Hawaiian and Chinese Philosophies Useful for Social Critique"

Sydney inter2018 m. gruodžio 3 d. 15.00 val. maloniai kviečia į dr. Sydney Morrow viešą paskaitą „Convergence of Hawaiian and Chinese Philosophies Useful for Social Critique". Paskaita vyks anglų kalba VU Azijos ir transkultūrinių studijų institute, J. Kovalevskio auditorijoje (Universiteto g. 5, Vilnius).

Paskaitos santrauka

There are many factors that explain the drastic economic disparities within the populations of developed, technologically-advanced countries. In an age where the largest economies are underpinned by the necessity of unlimited growth, the girders of plentiful cheap labor and abundant natural resources are beginning to belie their structural integrity. The people bearing the most weight are those at the bottom, who work the hardest for the least return and live their lives amid the poisonous, irradiated detritus of an inefficient, wasteful system of production and consumption. Yet it seems like the marginalized are forever being trotted out as exemplars of mishandled responsibility and, increasingly, misplaced identity. The recent popular reemergence of nationalist and supremacist ideologies point to preferences that, now voiced as part of a “fair and balanced” dialogue, blame the marginalized for thinking they deserve better. Ecological devastation and the outsized impact it has on poor communities require a reassessment of “us” and “them” as well as the environment we share. 

With this as a backdrop, I bring attention to one localized but representative facet of these global issues: the overrepresentation of Native Hawaiians, or Kānaka Maoli, among those experiencing homelessness in Hawaiʻi, a so-called paradise with the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the United States. In Honolulu, the capital, tent cities, rendered mobile in the age of “sweeps”, cyclically concentrate and dissipate in the shadows of sleek and shiny condominium buildings, in time with the vicissitudes of public opinion. In this paper, I provide a philosophical context for understanding modern-day homelessness as a societal aberration characterized by dissolution and stagnation, two metaphors used in Pre-Qin and Han Dynasty philosophies to describe the detrimental experiences and circumstances that block one’s progress in making their way (dao 道) in the world. Cyclical, processual ways of knowing are important from both Chinese and Hawaiian philosophies, as is the emphasis on inclusive, dynamic harmony among unique, non-reducible, and non-reproducible events and experiences. I look to these philosophies for guidance on the appropriate social response to extreme poverty and homelessness.

Sydney Morrow received her Ph. D. from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Spring 2018. Her dissertation is titled “A Comparative Study of ‘Existential Destitution’ in Pre-Qin Chinese Philosophy and Karl Jaspers in the Context of Homelessness in Hawai'i”. In it, she uses a comparative approach to formulate a methodology and application of place-based philosophy. Drawing from resources in classical and modern Chinese philosophy, she draws out themes related to hardship, dire circumstances, and personal cultivation in the face of each. She believes that philosophy ought to be concerned with contemporary problems, and that analysis of these pressing issues is best done in contextualized and localized ways. Her research interests include Pre-Qin and Han Chinese Philosophy, 20th Century Chinese Philosophy, 20th Century European Existentialism, Environmental and Agricultural Ethics, Applied and Place-based Philosophy, Comparative and Cross-Cultural Philosophy, and Homelessness Studies.


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