Between diversity and harmony: Envisioning confluences

Hoyt Tillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An international conference at National Taiwan University's Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences invited us to reexamine "Interactions and Confluences in East Asian Thought". The Chinese theme utilized the term (i.e. assimilation or integration), rather than "confluence". "Confluence" conveys, to me, an image of streams joining and flowing together to become a river. Did the Chinese theme influence the conception of the English conference on confluence? In any case, responding to the conference announcement, I reflected on my decades of studying interactions within Chinese traditions and between East Asian and Western cultures. After summarizing these reflections to provide a context for my viewpoint, I raise some reservations about possible implications of the focus on "confluences" as a projection of desired interactions between diverse traditions within East Asia and globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-106
Number of pages18
JournalTaiwan Journal of East Asian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Assimilation
  • Chinese culture
  • Diversity
  • East-West cultural differences
  • Harmony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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