Colloquium: March 26th 19

Speaker: Eva Kit Wah Man, Hong Kong Baptist University

Title: Revelations and Limitations of Feminist Philosophy and Comparative Studies

Tuesday, March 26th at 2:30pm CLE A307


This talk starts with personal notes before theoretical discussion, which format confirms my beliefs that the real drive to philosophy and art is better to be concrete, existential, connecting to people, with emotion and they should address to real life issues. This explains my alternative approach in opening this speech with the subject “What Does Comparative Philosophy Mean to a Female Chinese Scholar Like Me?”

The discussion then proceeds to some reflections on Confucian living framework and comparative philosophy. Life experience brings a much better understanding in feminist discourses and their conversations with Confucianism, when I contrasted them from the philosophical level to the social and political levels. Comparative philosophy is also sensible for doing philosophy for it is simply a good strategy to consider a wide range of enduring and respected ideas. In this address, I demonstrate my agreement with the above premises from my study approach to the subject, bodies in China, using Chinese philosophy and feminist reflections as frames of reference.

The discussion starts from some of the conceptual models that feminist scholars propose, which seek to displace Platonic dualism and emancipate our concepts of the body from Cartesian mechanistic models or metaphors. I explore how the Chinese philosophical ideas offered by Confucians and Daoists may provide an alternative body ontology to the critical practices of feminists. I then share my research on case studies of female aesthetical representations in classical Chinese works such as The Book of Songs and contemporary body art in China. These representations demonstrate an intertwining relationship among the body, sexuality, aesthetics and gendered roles in their social environments. These case studies are also living illustrations of the connections, dynamics and transformations of the homogenous and the heterogenous China.