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Over onsFaculteit Godgeleerdheid en GodsdienstwetenschapOnderzoekCSRCAResearchCritical Concepts and Methods for the Study of Religion in Modern China

Critical Concepts and Methods for the Study of Religion in Modern China

Co-Convenors: Dr. Stefania Travagnin and Dr. Scott Pacey
Chinese and Buddhist flags on Mt. Putuo, Zhejiang province
Chinese and Buddhist flags on Mt. Putuo, Zhejiang province

The last decade has seen a rapid increase in the number of publications addressing various aspects of religion in modern China. This flood of new research reflects the fact that the subject of ‘religion in modern China’ has become a new and challenging field of study. To date, monographs and edited volumes have focused on specific historical events, prominentindividuals and local religiosities, as well as the rituals and material cultures of modern Chinese religious traditions. Within this emerging field of study, however, there is an ongoing and largely unresolved, debate regarding what methods and theories are appropriate to be employed in this new field.

This research project will address these conceptual and methodological issues in a systematic and comprehensive manner. The project is divided into two parts. The first includes (1) a discussion of the benefits and limitations of applying conventional theories and disciplinary methods to the study of modern Chinese religion, and (2) the delineation of new, and potentially more effective, research methodologies for working in this field. The second part is dedicated to the definition of critical concepts in the study of religions – such as ‘ritual’, ‘modernity’, ‘authority’ and ‘scripture’, as they apply to the study of religion in modern China. In this context, these topics take on new lives, and thus definitions drawn from Western contexts often lack accuracy when applied to the field.

This research project aims to create the basis for constructive dialogue and cooperation among Western and non-Western scholars, directed towards the theorization of effective conceptual frameworks and methods for the study of religion in modern China.

Laatst gewijzigd:23 april 2015 12:05