Tong Shijun was born in Shanghai in September 1958 and became Chancellor of NYU Shanghai in 2020 after holding a long-term position as Professor of Philosophy at East China Normal University (ECNU) since 1994.
Tong joined ECNU first as a student in 1978, after having spent three years as a farm worker on Chongming Island from 1975-1978. At ECNU he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1982 and a Master of Arts degree in philosophy in 1984—the same year he began his career teaching at the university. In 1988 Tong took his first trip to Norway as a visiting scholar, and then he went on an academic journey leading to a doctoral degree at the University of Bergen in 1994.
As an administrator, Tong was Chair of ECNU’s Department of Philosophy from 1995-1997, Deputy Dean of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS) from 2004-2011, Director of Philosophical Institute of SASS from 2009-2011, and ECNU’s University Council Chairman from 2011-2019.
As a philosopher, Tong specializes in epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and comparative philosophy. He has authored more than 10 books and over 100 papers, mainly in Chinese and English, and has translated several books from English and German into Chinese, including Jürgen Habermas’s Faktizität und Geltung. In 1998, he spent six months as a guest professor at Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany and from 2000-2001 worked as a visiting research Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in the US.
In addition to numerous awards and honors for his teachings, research, and writing, he has been a member of the Social Science Committee of China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) since 2004 and a Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi) since 2010.