Throughout history, numerous scholars and intellectuals
have tried to define Confucianism one way or another. Despite
their efforts, the voices of those who claim to have found
the essence of Confucianism are as much at odds as ever. A
Topography of Confucian Discourse analyzes Confucian discussion
in diverse historical settings, examining how Confucianism
has served the different purposes of biased interpreters and
how they have manipulated Confucian discourse.
To explore their hidden desires, Lee Seung-hwan critically
observes various historical contexts in which people interpreted
Confucianism: in the heyday of the Jesuit Missionaries, the
eighteenth-century Enlightenment, the period of Western Imperialism,
late twentieth-century postmodern America, Tokugawa Japan,
Choson Korea, China, Taiwan, South Korea, as well as Singapore.
The author successfully historicizes Confucian discourse,
explaining why, against a certain political background, a
certain view on Confucianism has to arise.