Teaching Confucius Again in an Era of Internet Trolling

trainman (Posted by) Level 3
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I’m wondering whether it will be helpful or counterproductive to have students in my course on China this semester think about what Confucius advocated – accuracy of description, ritual and decorum, reciprocity, and so on – relate that to the internet age.

Some discussion forums insist on ritual and impose linguistic restrictions. We’ve had the odd experience here at Patheos of having Disqus impose restrictions on keywords like Islam (this is a religion site for crying out loud) and oral (those who study ancient religion, including but not limited to early Christianity, are bound to mention oral tradition). But however frustrating the delay in comments appearing may be, there is a potential positive impact to requiring particular ways of thinking and behaving. We cannot require commenters to feel genuine respect towards those with different views from themselves. All we can do is insist on particular behaviors.

Confucius - Breakdown - Cohesiveness - Warring - States

Isn’t that rather like what Confucius did, responding to the breakdown of cohesiveness in the Warring States period in China’s history? Might it be helpful to have students think about the relationship between Confucius’ teaching about decorum and etiquette and aspects of internet interaction?

I should also use this as an opportunity to talk about the decorum of how students address professors, not only general email etiquette, but the particular inappropriateness of addressing female professors in a less respectful manner than their male counterparts. Then again, perhaps I should just address that on the syllabus, as another academic recently shared on Facebook that they did, apparently with some positive results. Not that I cannot do both…it is not as though most students will have read that part of the syllabus by the time we get to it in class!

Civility - Freedom - Speech - Issues - Cultural

On civility and freedom of speech (both issues that it will be interesting to discuss comparatively across different cultural...
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Why do democrats never have to face the reality of what's on the ground, like 2000 years of marriage.
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