CFP: MANCEPT Workshop: Cross-Cultural Reflections on Political Philosophy - Indian, Chinese, and Anglo-American Perspectives in Dialogue

Submission deadline: May 31, 2024

Conference date(s):
September 4, 2024 - September 6, 2024

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Department of Politics - MANCEPT, University of Manchester - MANCEPT
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas


This workshop explores topics in political philosophy in a cross-cultural context, focusing on perspectives from Indian, Chinese, European, and Anglo-American traditions. By bringing together scholars from different traditions, this workshop aims to deepen our understanding of issues in political thought.

One focal point of discussion will be the holistic worldview embedded in Indian political philosophy. Drawing from both Brahmanical and Buddhist texts, the workshop will explore how concepts of dharma (righteousness), karma (action), and mokṣa (liberation) could influence and reshape the European understanding of political concepts, such as freedom, justice, and the state.

In addition, the workshop will explore the rich heritage of Chinese political philosophy, encompassing Confucian, Mohist, Daoist, and Legalist perspectives. The emphasis on harmony, virtue, and the natural order in Confucianism, as well as the emphasis on spontaneity and non-action in Daoism, will be juxtaposed with other values that have been more central to Anglo-American philosophical traditions.

This workshop proposes facilitating a fruitful dialogue among Indian, Chinese, and Anglo-American perspectives in political philosophy, fostering intellectual exchange and mutual understanding across cultural boundaries. By exploring the intersections and tensions between different traditions, we aim to contribute to a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to political thought in an increasingly interconnected world.

Possible questions the workshop could address:
1.    How do the foundational principles of dharma in Indian political philosophy and the emphasis on harmony in Confucianism intersect with or diverge from Western notions of justice and governance?
2.    In what ways do the concepts of karma and moksha in Indian philosophy and the Daoist idea of wu wei (non-action) challenge or complement Western ideas of individual agency and political action?
3.    How can insights from the Abhidharma, Mādhyamaka, and Yogacara schools of Buddhist thought inform contemporary discussions on power dynamics, governance, and social justice?
4.    What are the implications of Confucian ideals of filial piety and social hierarchy for modern conceptions of democracy and equality, particularly in contrast to Western liberal traditions?
5.    How do Legalist principles of authoritarianism and rule by law in Chinese political philosophy contrast with or find resonance in theories of state sovereignty and political legitimacy that we find in Western liberal philosophy?

Conference Registration Fees:
(If you are a graduate student, MANCEPT has a small number of fee-waiver bursaries for which you can apply after acceptance. The deadline for bursaries is June 28th.)

Academics: £295

PG: £165

Dinner (Academics): £40

Dinner (PG): £25

Paper Submissions:

To submit a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words, and your CV to David Simone  ([email protected]) by Friday, May 31st, 2024. We will notify successful applicants by June 21st. Please note this event is in person. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the convenors:

David Simone ([email protected])

George Tsai ([email protected])

Supporting material

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