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On Family Values: A Question of Human Rights

The Institute of East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley presents a talk with Henry Rosement Jr. on the importance of family values within the Confucian framework and how this affects human rights

April 1, 2013 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Henry Rosemont, Jr., Religious Studies, Brown University


In thinking about how to address the manifold economic, social, political and environmental problems facing the U.S. and the world today, it might prove useful to re-examine the early Confucian insistence on the family as the nexus of ethical, political and spiritual life. In the first place, while a great many families today can be characterized as sexist, oppressive, and/or just generally dysfunctional, many more of them are not, at least in the rich industrialized nations, and families are not going to disappear as an institution no matter what some people might wish. Moreover, admitting that “family values” has regularly been employed conceptually in the service of arch-conservative social and political orientations, reinforcing patriarchy, homophobia, and especially sexism, nevertheless, family values can, it will be argued, be modified along much more progressive social, political and economic lines when placed in an updated Confucian conceptual framework.