The Foundations of Confucian Political Thought: History, Law, and the Political Community


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships


Political Science


In my research project, I delineate the early Confucian conception of the political community by asking two sets of questions. The first relates to the community’s boundaries. I investigate what the criteria for membership in it are and what social boundaries (like class, birth, etc.) matter. I also ask whether territory is important and if so, how it defines the political community. The second set of questions concerns the community’s ideational foundations. I primarily explore what explains the Confucian concern for the past and whether the concern with maintaining historical continuity can be considered sacred.