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Religion in Chinese Societies Speakers Series 2015

The “Religion in Chinese Societies Speakers Series” has been developed in conjunction with a new course developed and taught by Dr. Brian J. Nichols exploring religion in contemporary East Asia at Mount Royal University during the 2015 Winter term. The 2015 speakers series includes three experts on religion in contemporary China and Taiwan who will give presentations to Dr. Nichols’ class followed by afternoon presentations open to the public. The public lectures will introduce cutting edge research on Chinese religion to the Mount Royal community as well as the broader Calgary public. Religion is a complex phenomenon which scholars approach with a variety of methods; the three scholars in this series approach religion from sociological, historical, and anthropological points of view. Books by each of the speakers will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Each talk will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 PM in “The Knuckle” (EA3001) on the third floor of the Arts Building on the campus of Mount Royal University.

Richard Madsen
Arts_Events-RichardMadsenJanuary 26, 2015
3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Mount Royal University

EA3001, The Knuckle

The first talk in the series is by distinguished professor of sociology Richard Madsen of the University of California, San Diego whose talk is titled, “Religion Renaissance in Contemporary Chinese Societies: China and Taiwan.” Dr. Madsen's talk will examine the relationship between religion and the state in mainland China and Taiwan. In mainland China the government takes a restrictive, if not repressive, stance due to the Communist Party's perception that religious activism may be linked to social and political instability. In Taiwan, on the other hand, the relationship has been more constructive and religious movements have on balance contributed positively to the consolidation of Taiwan's democracy.

Richard Madsen received an M.A. in Asian studies and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard and is the author, or co-author of twelve books on Chinese culture, American culture, and international relations. Habits of the Heart , a book he co-authored, won the LA Times Book Award and was jury nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His books on China include: Democracy's Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan (2007), Morality and Power in a Chinese Village (1984) [winner of the C. Wright Mills Award], China's Catholics: Tragedy and Hope in an Emerging Civil Society (1998).

Jimmy Yu
Arts_Events-JimmyYuFebruary 4, 2015
3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Mount Royal University
EA3001, The Knuckle

The second talk, by Jimmy Yu, is titled “Buddhist Blood Writing and Agency in Premodern China.” Jimmy Yu (Ph.D. Princeton University) teaches courses in the religious studies program at Florida State University with an emphasis in Buddhism and Chinese religions. His talk will explore material from his groundbreaking first book, Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions,1500-1700 (Oxford University Press,2012), which examines self-inflicted violence such as blood writing, filial body-slicing, and self-immolation, as essential and sanctioned aspects of premodern Chinese culture. His talk will include a short video of the practice in a contemporary setting.

Gareth Fisher
Arts_Events-Garth FisherMarch 11, 2015
3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Mount Royal University
EA3001, The Knuckle

Anthropologist, Gareth Fisher, from Syracuse University will present material from his recent book From Comrades to Bodhisattvas: Moral Dimensions of Lay Buddhist Practice in Contemporary China (University of Hawaii Press, 2014), which is the first book-length study of Han Buddhism in Post-Mao China. Gareth’s research is based on the lively discourse and activities of lay Buddhists that gather in the courtyard of an important Buddhist temple in Beijing.