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OnderzoekCentre for East Asian Studies Groningen

Religion in Modern China and Taiwan

Conference ‘Framing the Study of Religion in Modern China and Taiwan: Methods, Concepts and New Research Paths’, 9-12 December 2015
25 november 2015
Religion in modern China and Taiwan
Religion in modern China and Taiwan

The last two decades have seen a rapid increase in the number of publications addressing various aspects of religion in modern China and Taiwan. This publishing production has been paralleled by the organization of conferences, the establishment of research centres and the creation of team projects. The flood of new research reflects the fact that the subject of ‘religion in modern China’ has become a new and challenging field of study, in both Asian and Western academia.

Key questions

To date, monographs and edited volumes have focused on specific historical events, prominent individuals and local religiosities, as well as the rituals and material cultures of modern Chinese and Taiwanese 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 three-day conference, which will be held at the University of Groningen from 9 to 12 December 2015, will address conceptual and methodological issues regarding the theorization of effective concepts and methods for the study of religion in modern China and Taiwan.

Key questions that the speakers will address include:

  • What is the state of the field in the study of religion in modern China and Taiwan?
  • What are the methodologies and critical concepts that are used, and how can we improve or even replace them with more suitable ones?
  • How can this discussion of the study of religion in modern China and Taiwan contribute to the global academic discourse on the study of religion?

Organization and funding

This conference is being organized by Dr Stefania Travagnin, Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia (CSRCA) at the University of Groningen. It is linked to the research project ‘Concepts and Methods for the Study of Religion in Modern China’ hosted by the CSRCA. The event is funded by the CCKF (Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange) and the KNAW (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen).


Keynote speaker will be Professor Yang Fenggang, Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society (CRCS) at Purdue University, Indiana, USA, author of many publications that address methodological concerns in the field, and also co-editor – with Graeme Lang – of the volume Social Scientific Studies of Religion in China: Methodology, Theories, and Findings (Brill, 2011).

Speakers, alongside Yang Fenggang and Stefania Travagnin, include Christopher Daily, Vincent Goossaert, Rongdao Lai, Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, Wai-yip Ho, Brian Nichols, Susan McCarthy, André Laliberté, Rebecca Nedostup, Yen-zen Tsai, Jason Clower, Paul Katz, May-fair Yang, Ester Bianchi, Gregory Adam Scott, Ya-pei Kuo, Erik Hammestrom, Elena Valussi, Weishan Huang, Adam Yuet Chau and James Miller.

More information

The conference is open to the public. For more details on the conference programme, paper abstracts, venue and registration, see the conference website.

  • When: 9-12 December 2015
  • Where: Old Court Room, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Oude Boteringestraat 38 Groningen
Laatst gewijzigd:25 november 2015 16:06

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