Workshops
[2012] Leo Strauss in Northeast Asian Context

Routledge Series of Political Theories in East Asian Context Workshop 2012

Leo Strauss in Northeast Asian Context

Institute for Values & Ethics at Soongsil University & Dept. of Political Science at Chun-Ang University

Supported by SK Cooperation, Korea
Seminar Room 601, Law School Building, Chung-Ang University
September 14-15, 2012

I. Theme Statement

Since the media coverage made Leo Strauss as the philosopher who inspired U.S. neo-conservatives in general and the Iraq War in particular, research on him and his writings has experienced significant growth in East Asia. However, this recent interest in Strauss and his writings is considerably different from the earlier reception of his political thoughts in East Asia. In East Asia, Leo Strauss and his teachings on political philosophy have played an important role not in exploring how the fear of external threats shapes the need for founding an empire but in moderating a peculiar parochialism through philosophical debates over the tension between politics and philosophy, the distinction between ancient and modern, and the encounters between East and West.

This workshop aims at providing a general account of the receptions of Leo Strauss in East Asia as well as that of the current situations of the teaching and research on him in China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Particularly we examine the variety of ways in which East Asian scholars have dealt with Strauss and his thoughts on natural rights and democratic rights, and calls for reimagining the current interpretations of Strauss in East Asia by de-contextualizing him and his writings – which have been woven into the intellectual fabric of East Asia – from the hyper-nationalist echo that U.S. neo-conservatism generated in East Asian politics. We examine a number of related questions: How do East Asian scholars receive Strauss’ thoughts on natural rights and liberal democracy in general? If the question of liberal democracy is relevant to the distinction between politics and philosophy, what follow from taking his thought in terms of democratic rights? And ultimately, what are the peculiarities of the receptions of Strauss in the East Asian context?

II. Conference Schedule

  • Welcoming Reception, 6:00 PM September 13 at University Club House, 11th floor, College of Pharmacy and R & D Center, Chung-Ang University. [R.S.V.P: This reception will be served by the department of political science at Chung-Ang University.]
  • Workshop Day 1, September 14

I. Opening Remark (9:00-9:20 AM)

Jun-Hyeok KWAK, Co-Director of the Institute for Values and Ethics at Soongsil University & General Editor of the Routledge Series of Political Theories in East Asian Context

II. Keynote Speech (9:20-10:40 AM)

Nathan TARCOV, Director of Leo Strauss Center & Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago “Leo Strauss & the Problems of Political Philosophy: A Brief Survey”

III. Session One: Leo Strauss and East Asia (11:00-12:40 AM)

Moderator: Sung-woo Park, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chung-Ang University

Haig PATAPAN, Professor of Government and International Relations, Griffith University “The East-West Dialogue and the Political Philosophy of Leo Strauss”
Shozo IIJIMA, Director of the Library & Professor of Political Science, Waseda University “Studies of Leo Strauss in Japanese Academia”
Yong-Min KIM, Chair of the Korean Society for Political Thought & Professor of Political Science, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. “A Review of Korean Studies on Leo Strauss”

IV. Lunch Break (13:00-14:00 PM)

V. Session Two: Leo Strauss in Northeast Asia (14:00-15:40 PM)

Moderator: Yong-Min KIM, Chair of the Korean Society for Political Thought & Professor of Political Science, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

Takashi KIBE, Professor of Political Science, International Christian University “Philosophy, Religion, and Pluralism: A Straussian Perspective on Japanese Modernity”
Shiqi TANG, Professor of International Studies, Peking University “Leo Strauss and Ancient Chinese Wisdom: An Encounter not yet Actuated”
Jun-Hyeok KWAK, Co-director of the Institute for Values and Ethics, Soongsil University “Leo Strauss’s Thoughts on Tyranny and the Korean Society”

V. Session Three: Reinterpretation of Leo Strauss in East Asia (16:00-17:40 PM)

Moderator: Jun-Hyeok KWAK, Co-Director of the Institute for Values and Ethics at Soongsil University

Yoshihiko ISHIZAKI, Professor of Foreign Studies, Setsunan University “Reading Leo Strauss as a Postmodern Philosopher”
Jianhong CHEN, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Nankai University “Leo Strauss, China, and Political Utopianism”
Sung-Woo PARK, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chung-Ang University “Interpreting Strauss’s Plato in the Context of Korean Democracy”

  • Dinner, 19:00 PM with the Steering Committee Meeting for Leo Strauss in Northeast Asian Context (the dinner will be provided by the Institute for Values and Ethics at Soongsil University and the meeting will be moderated by Sung-Woo PARK, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chung-Ang University)
  • Workshop Day 2, September 15
  • Tour of the Secret Garden at Changduk Palace (optional) (11:30AM-13:00 PM)