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OnderzoekCentre for East Asian Studies Groningen

Keynote Lecture CSRCA: 'The Definition of Religion for the Social Scientific Study of Religion in China and Beyond'

Wanneer:wo 09-12-2015 om 19:00
Waar: Old Court Room, Oude Boteringestraat 38
Key lecture by prof. Yang Fenggang
Key lecture by prof. Yang Fenggang

The Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia (CSRCA) has been awarded a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange conference grant and a KNAW conference grants fund for organising the three-day conference: 'Framing the Study of Religion in Modern China and Taiwan: Concepts, Methods and New Research Paths'. The conference will be held from 9 to 12 December 2015, at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Oude Boteringestraat 38 . Yang Fenggang's talk is the keynote lecture that will open the conference on 9 December.

The Definition of Religion for the Social Scientific Study of Religion in China and Beyond

The definition of religion has a troubled history in China in the last century or so. Around the time when the first republic was established in Asia in 1912, many Chinese intellectuals denied the existence of religion in Chinese culture, whereas others strove to establish Confucianism as the state religion of China. Under Communist rule since 1949, only five religions have been allowed, and Confucianism is not one of them, yet in the twenty-first century some intellectuals have renewed their efforts to revive Confucianism and establish it as the state religion to replace the failing Communist orthodoxy. 

Taking a detached position from the ideology-laden debates, I have tried to define religion for the social scientific study. This definition, appropriated from previous scholarship and refined with a classification scheme that covers folk religion, civil religion and atheism as well as the normal category of religion, may help us better explain the dynamics of change in the political economy of religion in Chinese society, which has been increasingly integrated into the globalizing world.


Yang Fenggang is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, USA. Yang is also Editor-in-Chief of Review of Religion and Chinese Society and a past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR)


Everyone is welcome, no registration fee required.