A Most Awkward Sphere: The ‘Religion Sphere’ (zongjiaojie 宗教界) in Modern and Contemporary China
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Chau, Adam Yuet
Adam Yuet Chau, Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Modern China, University of Cambridge - Adam Yuet Chau examines the curious yet extremely potent concept and operations of the “religion sphere” in modern and contemporary China. Unlike the institutional setup of the official religious associations, the religion sphere (subdivided into the Buddhism sphere, the Protestantism sphere, etc.) is a fuzzy sociopolitical domain in which (and with which) the public/political presence and significance of China’s religious “communities” are negotiated. He explores the emergence, constitution and transformation of the religion sphere as it co-emerged with other spheres in China, and show how Chinese nationhood as well as Chinese secularity (paradoxically) have been crucially constituted by the religion sphere. However, when compared with other spheres, the religion sphere is a most awkward sphere (you will know why it is so if you come to the lecture!). Broader still, Adam argue that the “sphere-ization” of Chinese society is one of the most interesting and exciting topics to study if one wants to understand how Chinese society works, especially relating to state-society relations.
Video of full lecture with presentation slides edited into the video.
Cornell East Asia Program
East Asia Program, Cornell University
East Asia; history; China; religion
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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