Expert in European-Asian cultural exchange to speak at Fairfield University


D.E. Mungello, Ph.D., a noted scholar in religious and cultural exchange between Europe and Asia, will deliver "Did Confucius Know How to Serve God?" on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Fairfield University's Barone Campus Center. The 7 p.m. talk is part of the Jesuits in Asia Lecture Series, sponsored by Fairfield University's Humanities Institute, the Nintur Foundation, and the International Studies and Asian Studies programs.

Dr. Mungello will consider the exchange of ideas between China and Europe in early modern history from 1500 through 1800 and how Jesuit missionaries were intermediaries in the process. A professor of history at Baylor University in Texas, he is recognized internationally as a scholar in the reception and assimilation of Confucianism in Europe and Christianity in Asia.

Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Dr. Mungello holds a bachelor's degree from George Washington University and both a master's degree in Asian Studies and doctorate in history from the University of California at Berkeley. He began his 37-year teaching career at Woodward School for Boys in Washington, D.C., following that with faculty appointments at Lingnan College in Hong Kong, Briarcliff College in New York, Universität Düsseldorf in Germany, and Coe College in Iowa. He began teaching at Baylor in 1994.

The recipient of numerous awards and grants for research in the United States, Europe and Asia, Dr. Mungello has written several books, including "Leibniz and Confucianism: The Search for Accord" (University of Hawaii Press) and "Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation and the Origins of Sinology" (University of Hawaii Press). He is the founder, editor and publisher of "Sino-Western Cultural Relations Journal" and has written articles and book reviews in professional journals, The New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World.

He was director of the 1996 International Symposium on the History of Christianity in China, which was held in Hong Kong.

The Jesuits in Asia series celebrates the unique position the Society of Jesus had in exploring Asian culture and developing a mutual appreciation among artists, philosophers and priests in Europe and Asia. In early modern history, Jesuits represented Catholic Christianity in the courts of Asian kings and emperors, while attending to the needs of those seeking knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Returning home, the priests brought Europeans their first systematic understanding of Chinese literature, Islam in India, Hinduism and many religious and cultural ideas that helped shape the modern West.

Dr. Mungello's lecture, which will take place in the campus center's Oak Room, is free and open to the public.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 15, 2003

Vol. 36, No. 55