Call for papers: Fukuoka Meeting of the Global Bergsonism Research Project (an online webinar) – 12, 18, 19 November 2021 – Fukuoka University, Japan



Of all the philosophies of the early 20th century, Bergsonism has known the widest diffusion, creating a true global intellectual movement, producing local interpretations and new semantizations of Bergson’s thought. The Global Bergsonism research project aims to produce, via local chapters, a global history of Bergsonism, considered as an emblematic case of philosophical transfer.

A webinar hosted by Penn State University in November 2020 showed the vitality of Bergson studies in North American area by creating fertile crossroads of perspectives, particularly on the question of ecology, life sciences and politics, and postcolonial philosophy. In the next years the project will encourage further research, through five international meetings in Japan, Brazil, Cameroon, Lithuania and Turkey in the framework of the CNRS International Research Network (IRN) “A Chapter in the Global History of Philosophy: New Perspectives on Bergsonism”, whose goals are the writing of a world history of Bergsonism, making available the philosophical contributions to Bergson studies from all over the world, and establishing an international network of scholars and activities in Bergson studies from different geographical areas.

In November 2021 a webinar will be hosted by Fukuoka University, in synergy with the “Project Bergson in Japan” (PBJ) led by Japanese Bergsonian scholars, to focus on Bergson studies in the East Asian area.

Since the early 20th century, Bergson’s works have circulated in Japan, where Kantian intellectualism and positivism had been very influential since the end of the 19th century. Japanese philosophers such as Nishida Kitarô, Tanabe Hajime and Nishitani Keiji of the Kyoto school, introduced Bergson’s ideas of duration, intuition and creative evolution in Japanese philosophy and literature, highlighting analogies with some aspects of Zen Buddhism. Chinese intellectuals were also fascinated by Bergson, whose critique of scientism and positivism offered fertile arguments to discuss Western influences: from Qian Zhixiu to Liang Shumming, many Chinese intellectuals compared Bergson’s theory of intuition and intelligence to the modern Confucian epistemology and to Weishi Buddhism. In Korea, the introduction of Bergson began in the 1920s, and after the war, thanks to the efforts of scholars such as Han Chi-Jin, Chung Suk-Hae, and Park Hong-Kyu, Bergson’s philosophy steadily spread. Many works were written in other Asian countries on the reception, perception, interpretation, and the reproduction of Bergsonian ideas, but still several questions need to be answered: What did the twentieth century intellectuals in East Asia find in Bergson that was so pertinent to the intellectual, political, and social issues that they experienced?  To what issues did it respond outside of the Western milieu? Who was interested in Bergsonian approaches and for what reasons? Why did certain type of authors harshly react to Bergson? In which creative ways did international Bergsonians see in Bergson something of their own traditions and their solutions to problems of global modernity? Exploring Bergsonism as an example of the globalization of philosophical modernism through these questions will allow us to obtain a clearer understanding of its transformations in particular historical contexts in more detail and across cases. Analyses of Bergson need to be discussed not only through texts written in local languages but also via the social and scholarly context of that specific area. 

Keynote Speakers

DENG Gang, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

HWANG Su-Young, Hongik University

SUGIMURA Yasuhiko, Kyoto University

The project welcomes submissions (abstracts of 300-500 words, or
complete original papers in English or in French) on any aspect of Bergson’s philosophy. We are also interested in Bergson’s reception and manifestations of Bergsonism in different parts of the world, with a particular interest in his reception in the East Asian world (given the location of this meeting).

Please send submissions electronically to Yasushi HIRAI, Fukuoka University, adding « GBP2021 » to the object of your message. 

Deadline for submission is June 1, 2021.

Update (June 4th) : THE DEADLINE IS EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 1, 2021.

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