Professor of History
Chair of the History Department
Joined Connecticut College: 1992
B.A., Wellesley College; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University
Early Chinese cultural history
The spiritual and philosophical dimensions of Confucianism and Daoism
Confucianism in East Asia Today (Confucianism and Human Rights; Confucianism and Democratization; and Confucianism and Ecology)
Professor Queen's primary research examines China's philosophical and religious foundations as it was expressed in early texts written by practitioners of the Confucian and Daoist traditions. Her research focuses on the ways in which these two traditions shaped early ethical and spiritual norms, conceptions of the body, state, and cosmos as well as Confucian and Daoist self-cultivation as distinctive forms of religious experience.
She is also very interested in the modern transformation of the Confucian tradition, particularly the ways in which Confucianism informs contemporary debates concerning the establishment of human rights and democracy in East Asia.
Professor Queen has been awarded a grant from the Harvard University Asia Center to organize a conference in Spring 2008 focusing on the first-ever complete English translation of a key ancient Chinese text, the Huainanzi. This 21-chapter text from the 2nd century (BCE) Han Dynasty was intended to provide a contemporary ruler with an encyclopedic overview of philosophy, administrative and managerial techniques, and all of the scientific and technical knowledge needed to govern effectively. The conference, titled "Visions of Empire: New Perspectives on the Huainanzi," will be co-coordinated by Queen and Michael Puett, professor of Chinese history at Harvard University
Professor Queen's first book From Chronicle to Canon: The Hermeneutics of the Spring and Autumn Annals (1996) examines the role of the holy book in the Confucian tradition. Professor Queen's latest articles include: "The Way of the Unadorned King: The Politics of Tung Chung-shus Hermeneutics in The Hermeneutic Traditions in Chinese Culture"; "The Imperial Order and Confucian Synthesis: Dong Zhongshu in Sources of Chinese Tradition"; "The Huang-Lao Silk Manuscripts, co-written with Harold Roth in Sources of Chinese Tradition"; and "Confucian Spirituality and the Way of the Unadorned King" forthcoming in Confucian Spirituality, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Tu Wei-ming (World Spirituality Series, Crossroad Press).
Queen's articles in Chinese include: "On Tung Chung-shus Ideal of Non-action", in Taochia Wenhua Yanchiu (Studies in Taoist Culture) and "New Studies on Dong Zhongshu in North America and Europe" in Chung-kuo Che-hsueh Shih (History of Chinese Philosophy).
Professor Queen offers a variety of courses on pre-modern and modern Chinese history including: 115: Introduction to Chinese Civilization; 118 The Cult of Mao; 224 Foundations of Chinese Thought I; 278 Foundations of Chinese Thought II; 262: China in Revolution; 493a: Voices of Dissent; 493d: Chinas Confucian Legacy; 493j: Human Rights in China; and 493r Disciples of the Dao.
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"And now that we have returned to the desultory life of the plain, let us endeavor to import a little of that mountain grandeur into it. We will remember within what walls we lie, and understand that this level life too has its summit, and why from the mountain-top the deepest valleys have a tinge of blue; that there is elevation in every hour, as no part of the earth is so low that the heavens may not be seen from, and we have only to stand on the summit of our hour to command an uninterrupted horizon." -
Henry David Thoreau, A Walk to Wachusett, The Natural History Essays