One of the more exciting recent developments in the humanities and social sciences has been the attempt to explore the enormous body of theory that has been generated in cultures throughout the world and to bring this body of indigenous theory into conversation with Western theory. This presentation will attempt a small contribution to this larger project by discussing some of the indigenous theories concerning ritual that developed in the classical Chinese tradition. Professor Puett will argue that these theories from classical China have much to offer contemporary discussions.
Michael Puett is the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations as well as the Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. His interests are focused on the inter-relations between anthropology, history, religion, and philosophy. He is the author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China (Stanford 2001) and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China (Harvard Asia Center 2002), as well as the co-author, with Adam Seligman, Robert Weller, and Bennett Simon, of Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (Oxford 2008).
Michael Puett, Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History, Harvard University