Hung-Yok Ip

Jan 9, 2023

Grassroots Activism of Ancient China

Mohism and Nonviolence

Lexington Books 2022

Hung-Yok Ip's Grassroots Activism of Ancient China: Mohism and Nonviolence (Lexington Books, 2022) examines Mohism as a movement in early China, focusing on the Mohists’ pursuit of power. Fashioning themselves as grassroots activists, the Mohists hoped to impact the elite by gaining entry in its community and influencing it from within. To create a less violent world, they deployed strategies of persuasion and negotiation but did not discard counterviolence in their dealings with the ruling class. In executing their activism, the Mohists produced knowledge that allowed them to hone their nonviolent strategies as well as to mount armed resistance to aggression. In addition, the Mohists paid significant attention to the issue of personhood, constructing a self-cultivation tradition unsparing in its demands for overcoming human conditions that would impede their performance as activists. This book situates Mohism in the history of nonviolent activism, and in that of negotiation and conflict resolution.

Jessica Zu is an Assistant Professor in the School of Religion at USC Dornsife. She specializes in modern Chinese Yogācāra and Buddhist social philosophy. You can find her on Twitter @ JessicaZu7 or email her at xzu@usc.edu.

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