Current Projects

Author of a book on the role of the cult of Confucius in the formation of Confucian orthodoxy based on a examination of debates over the meaning of Confucius in temples devoted to him across the empire. I reexamine our understanding of Confucianism on the basis of two interrelated areas of inquiry: (1) I draw on ritual texts on state and ancestral liturgies and rare materials from the archives of the mansion of Confucius' descendants to scrutinize the place of the worship of Confucius in the formation of Confucian orthodoxy and the internal contestation over its meaning by the emperors, imperial officials, and Confucius' family descendants who performed these rites. (2) I examine the function of the tension between philosophy and religion in modern Western discourses on Confucianism and re-situate nineteenth-century Protestant writings in a genealogy of sinology that has tended to construct a more exclusively rational image of Confucianism. The aim of this project is admittedly to question the terms with which Confucianism has been constructed by demonstrating that the Confucian literati and foreign observers have never agreed on its meaning. (Stanford, forthcoming)

Co-authoring a book with Professor Michael Nylan (History, Berkeley) tentatively titled Confucius Through the Ages for Random House.

Film documentary of the sacrifices to feed the spirit of Confucius.

© Thomas A. Wilson | Professor of History, Hamilton College | | designed by Stephanie Wong