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The Fifth Christian Theology and Interdisciplinary Studies Project 2021

The Concept of Being Human in the Age of Digital Technology: Body and Bodiliness—An Integration of Christian Theology and Interdisciplinary Studies
 
 
Organizer: Institute of Sino-Christian Studies (ISCS), Tao Fong Shan, Hong Kong

Project Leader: Prof. HONG Liang (Institute of Sino-Christian Studies / China Graduate School of Theology)

Date: July to August 2021, January 2022 (2 Months + 2 Weeks)

Language: Chinese (Mandarin)


Project Description
The global academia of the humanities has undergone a major “anthropological turn” in the second half of the Twentieth Century. Its continual questioning of what it means to be human and what its main characteristics are has stimulated the development of many new theoretical ideas in other disciplines, such as the arts, natural sciences, medical sciences, and applied sciences. This, in turn, has laid the foundation for today’s investigation of the concept of being human in the age of digital technology. In this “anthropological turn,” the discussion of “body and bodiliness” is playing a crucial role. The body has increasingly been considered the medium of communication between human persons, and the relationship of human cognition, emotion, memory, identity etc. with the body has likewise been receiving more attention and emphasis. 

Inspired by the concept of “posthuman,” the prospects of the deification, commercialization, and ideologization of the body have become one of the key research questions in academic discourses. The intermarriage of technology and capital has, on the one hand, set the perfect, healthy human body as the goal of the evolution and perfection of machines, and, on the other hand, downgraded “imperfect,” “unhealthy” human bodies as potential candidates for obsoleteness and elimination. How can we understand the human body and bodiliness—in particular, the meaning of fragility, sickness, suffering, and body disabilities in our understanding of what it means to be human—especially in this particular context of the age of digital technology, and thus construct a Sino-Christian critique and discourse of the phenomenon of the body? This will be the core guiding question of the Fifth Christian Theology and Interdisciplinary Studies Project to be organized by the ISCS in 2021.

In this interdisciplinary project, we will focus on the following questions:
  1. How do the fragility, sickness, suffering, and body disabilities relate to the dignity of humans? What kinds of theoretical resources can the exegetic and dogmatic tradition of Christianity, as well as the classical traditions of Eastern and Western philosophy, offer us?
  2. How can we understand the relationship of the fragility, sickness, suffering, and body disabilities with human psychic processes from the perspective of the neurosciences of the brain? Is it possible to totally disconnect psychic processes from bodiliness?
  3. How are the fragility, sickness, suffering, and body disabilities understood and expressed in literary works, plastic arts, and visual arts of the West? What can we learn from literary and artistic works in Chinese culture?
  4. How can we understand the manifestation, expression, and acceptance of the fragility, sickness, suffering, and body disabilities in the social space, the political space, and the legal space in the Chinese context?
 
The above-mentioned questions necessitate a multidisciplinary collaboration and transdisciplinary investigation which combine the approaches of systematic theology, biblical and ancient Near Eastern  studies, classical philosophy, ethics, neurosciences of the brain, literary studies, sociology, politics, and jurisprudence etc., in pursuit of new insights and a deeper understanding of the issues involved.
 
DEADLINE OF APPLICATION: 10 MARCH 2021
(NB: THE PROJECT WILL BE CONDUCTED IN CHINESE.)

For further details, please contact Mr. Clement LO (clementlo@iscs.org.hk), Assistant Academic Exchange Officer of ISCS.