NYU Shanghai Talk by Louis Greenspan

Bertrand Russell on Serenity and Revolution: China 1920-21
Louis Greenspan
Date & Time
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 18:00 to 19:30
Room 1505, 1555 Century Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai

In 1920-21 Bertrand Russell visited China as a guest of the University of Peking. This University was one of the centers of unrest and renewal in a country that had abandoned a history of imperial rule and was now struggling to design a republic that would appropriate the best ideas of western modernity. Russell, a leading philosopher whose books on the reconstruction of society had been translated into Chinese, an activist who had been imprisoned for opposition to the Great War and an early eyewitness to the Bolshevik experiment was an ideal guide. Over the months of his visit, Russell came to believe that while China needed Western science, traditional Chinese Civilization offered a vision of the good life that might discipline the destructive dynamism that had brought the West to ruin. In his talk, Professor Louis Greenspan will offer reflections on whether Russell had found a working synthesis of western individualism, Marxism and industrialism and what he perceived as the traditional wisdom of China.

 Dr. Louis Greenspan, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and a founding member of the Arts & Science Program, teaches ARTSSCI 4IH3 / Contemporary Intellectual History Inquiry. In 1967, Dr. Greenspan came to McMaster, where he has maintained a research focus on the work of Bertrand Russell, the subject of his PhD dissertation. He was Director of the Bertrand Russell Editorial Project from 1994 to 1997 and its managing editor from 1986 to 1994. He also chaired the Bertrand Russell Archives Copyright Permissions Committee, and served as a co-editor of volume 14 of the Collected Papers. Dr. Greenspan has also conducted research on modern liberal thought and on religion and secularism in the post-war period. At McMaster, he has taught courses related to this research–in Jewish History in the Modern Age, for example—and continues to be an active lecturer, panelist, and guest speaker in various settings both in North America and abroad.
Introduction and moderation of the Q&A by Brad Weslake, Associate Professor of Philosophy. 
Location & Details

To our visitors

  • RSVP may be required for this event.  Please check event details
  • Visitors will need to present a photo ID at the entrance
  • There is no public parking on campus
  • Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue) 
  • Taxi card


Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B

Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987