Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn (张仁宁, Zhang Renning) is Professor of Philosophy and Director of Asian Studies at Belmont University. He is author of five books, including Chinese Philosophy: An Introduction (2016); Confucianism (Chinese 2017, English 2011) and Daoism: An Introduction (2010) and editor of two additional books: Riding the Wind with Liezi: New Essays on a Daoist Classic and Polishing the Chinese Mirror, as well as over 50 articles. His current major writing project is a commentary on the Chinese text, Zhuangzi.
Littlejohn holds the Ph.D. from Baylor University and has done post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago, the University of Hawaii, the University of Arizona, Harvard University, Notre Dame University, and the Pennsylvania State University. He is the past Chairman of the Board of ASIANetwork, a consortium of over 170 liberal arts colleges and universities in the U.S., and he now serves as one of its two Development Officers to manage $1million in grant funds annually. He is Co-Director of the Tennessee National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, which is a multi-year initiative to encourage and facilitate teaching and learning about East Asia in elementary and secondary schools nationwide, serving more than 1,000 teachers yearly. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Association of Regional Centers for the Asian Studies Development Program of the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Littlejohn is a member of the Board of Directors of the award winning Education about Asia magazine, published by the international Association of Asian Studies. He has served in leadership positions in the International Society for Chinese Philosophy, the Association of Chinese Philosophers in North America, the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, and the Early China Roundtable of Scholars.
His field research since 1998 has been with Zhengyi Daoist lineages in several provinces of China. He was one of three American scholars chosen to give a Keynote Presentation at the First International Forum on Laozi and Daoist Culture in Beijing in November 2009, and he gave one of the dedicatory addresses for the Laozi and Daoist Culture Center at the traditional birthplace of Laozi in Luyi County, Zhoukou City, Henan Province, P. R. China. In 2010, he presented “Daoism,” in the nationally broadcast television series, Belief Systems and Religions in East Asia sponsored by Columbia University. He was the Editorial Consultant for China’s sacred sites in Sacred Journeys: National Geographic (Special Edition) (January 2011). He has been Director of Belmont University’s China and Hong Kong Summer Travel Studies and Exchange Programs since 1998 and Director of undergraduate student travel studies in China from 2000 to the presnt. He has been Director of Belmont short-term student Study-Away Programs at University of Hawai’i/East West Center in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and in Belmont's Maymester study away format with the University of Hawai’i since 2013.
He has many teaching awards to his credit, including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Tennessee Professor of the Year Award 2015 and Virginia M. Chaney Distinguished Professor Award 2013.