Location: The Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW), College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
Convenors: Dr Benjamin Penny, Mr Paul Farrelly
This workshop will explore histories of how religion is created, transmitted, embodied and changed in specific locations in late imperial, modern and contemporary China and Taiwan. Taking not only temples, mosques, churches, schools, tea houses, festival sites, burial grounds and shrines as the locus of research, but also cities, neighbourhoods, counties and districts, it will explore the rich, and often overlooked, details that populate the lived experience of religious activity. Seeking to focus on interactions between place, text and individual agency, we aim to reflect on the layered and specific histories that develop as a consequence of this interplay. Through reducing the scale to a specific locale, phenomena such as religious change, conversion practice, and individual transformation can be reappraised.
Questions to consider may include: How do the particular circumstances of time and place shape religious experience? What is specific to a location that influences the nature of religious practice there? What religious power is embodied in a place? How is the power created or maintained? How are narratives created around a location? How are locations represented in oral and printed media? What is characteristic of the religious world in a particular place? How do the defining religious features of a locality originate?
Seeking to enhance scholarship about place and religion in China and Taiwan, we request work informed by microhistory and theories of the everyday that offer alternative perspectives on the sacred world. In doing this, we will explore the idea that religious experience is not homogenous across geography, and that even comparatively small distances can produce meaningful differences in institutions and practices. Through sharpening the focus of research to a county, district, neighbourhood, or particular numinous site we also hope to examine the relations between particular places and institutions of authority based locally or distantly.
Interested participants should submit a paper title, abstract with keywords (300 words maximum) along with brief biographical information (name, affiliation) to email@example.com by 1 May 2013. CIW may be able to provide some financial assistance for the travel and accommodation expenses for successful applicants. The conference will be conducted in English and we plan to publish the proceedings in a special edition of East Asian History.
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