The essay critically engages two recent works on the Confucian revival in the People’s Republic of China published by Princeton University Press, the one advocating a Confucian monarchy for the PRC, the other arguing for the universal relevance of Confucianism as a “world religion.” Barely disguised as works of scholarship, these works are ideologically loaded advocacies, the one explicitly attacking “Western” culture in general and democracy more specifically in the name of hierarchical authoritarianism, the other making a plea for a Confucian religion not just for the PRC but also for its English-speaking readership. Publication of works of questionable scholarship by a major university press, and the positive reception given to them, suggests some resonance with the antidemocratic and so-called postsecular turns in the United States and Europe.
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Arif Dirlik; King Kong in America. boundary 2 1 May 2014; 41 (2): 139–163. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2686115
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