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Chinese Religiosities

Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation

Mayfair Mei-hui Yang

Publication Year: 2008

The long twentieth century in China and Taiwan has seen both a dramatic process of state-driven secularization and modernization and a vigorous revival of contemporary religious life. Chinese Religiosities explores the often vexed relationship between the modern Chinese state and religious practice. The essays in this comprehensive, multidisciplinary collection cover a wide range of traditions, including Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Confucianism, Protestantism, Falungong, popular religion, and redemptive societies.

Contributors: José Cabezón, Prasenjit Duara, Ryan Dunch, Dru C. Gladney, Vincent Goossaert, Ji Zhe, Ya-pei Kuo, Richard Madsen, Rebecca Nedostup, David Palmer, Benjamin Penny, Mayfair Mei-hui Yang

Published by: University of California Press

Series: Global, Area, and International Archive

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents, Acknowledgments

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pp. v-viii

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pp. 1-40

At a conference at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004, I gave a paper on the revival of popular religion based on my fieldwork in rural Wenzhou, on the southeastern coast of China (M. Yang n.d.).1 Afterward, a U.S.-trained Chinese scholar with an academic position in the U.S, but born and raised in China, ...

Part I. Religious Approaches to Citizenship: The Traffic between Religious Orders and the Secular National Order

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1. Religion and Citizenship in China and the Diaspora

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pp. 43-64

Why is it that religion is foregrounded in the knowledge of some societies, whereas in others—most notably, China—it emerges as largely irrelevant to developments, particularly to modern history? One could posit various explanations that incorporate the power (or powerlessness) of institutionalized religion in relation to the state, ...

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2. Redeploying Confucius: The Imperial State Dreams of the Nation, 1902–1911

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pp. 65-84

Few periods in Chinese history were more tumultuous than the seventeen years from 1895 to 1911. In every aspect of social, political, and cultural life, the advent of global modernity fueled drastic changes. The momentum of these changes started in the mid-nineteenth century. ...

Part II. State Discourse and the Transformation of Religious Communities

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3. Ritual Competition and the Modernizing Nation-State

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pp. 87-112

It is National Day, 1930, and cadres of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Guomindang, or GMD) are trying for the third year in a row to force the public to adopt the “national” (i.e., combined Republican and Gregorian) calendar.1 It is, they argue, a marker of modernity, of China’s entry into the world, of a unified, strong, and scientific nation. ...

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4. Heretical Doctrines, Reactionary Secret Societies, Evil Cults: Labeling Heterodoxy in Twentieth-Century China

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pp. 113-134

Since the repression of Falungong (法輪功, Practice of the Wheel of the Law) in 1999, the question of “cults” has become a critical issue in the Chinese religious field, leading Chinese scholars and ideologues to elaborate a new discourse on the category of “evil cults” (邪教, xiejiao). ...

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5. Animal Spirits, Karmic Retribution, Falungong, and the State

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pp. 135-154

On April 25, 1999, between ten and fifteen thousand Falungong (法輪功, Practice of the Wheel of the Law) practitioners gathered outside Zhongnanhai in central Beijing, the compound that houses the most senior officers of the Chinese government and the Communist Party. ...

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6. Christianity and “Adaptation to Socialism”

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pp. 155-178

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is uncomfortable with religion. Religious adherence in Chinese society is growing extremely rapidly. Two simple and incontestable statements, yet in the contradictions between them lie tensions with profound implications for Chinese society. ...

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7. Islam and Modernity in China: Secularization or Separatism?

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pp. 179-206

China’s Muslims are now facing their second millennium under Chinese rule. Many of the challenges they confront remain the same as they have for the last thirteen hundred years of continuous interaction with Chinese society, but many others are a result of China’s transformed and increasingly globalized society. ...

Part III. The Reinvention and Control of Religious Institutions

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8. Republican Church Engineering: The National Religious Associations in 1912 China

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pp. 209-232

Western paradigms of the political management of religion have been clearly and explicitly influential in China since the early twentieth century. These paradigms are quite varied, from the U.S. “wall of separation” to French laïcité and northern Europe’s national churches, ...

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9. Secularization as Religious Restructuring: Statist Institutionalization of Chinese Buddhism and Its Paradoxes

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pp. 233-260

This chapter undertakes to analyze the statist institutionalization of Buddhism in modern China and suggests that there are some paradoxes in the process of secularization, and in the relationship between the state and religion. I would like to show that secularization in China, understood as a state policy to restrain religion, ...

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10. State Control of Tibetan Buddhist Monasticism in the People’s Republic of China

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pp. 261-292

On March 10, 1959, after a popular Tibetan uprising against Chinese troops stationed in Lhasa, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama fled Tibet and received political asylum in India.1 Approximately a hundred thousand Tibetans followed him into exile. The vast majority of Tibetans—both those living in exile and those still in Tibet— ...

Part IV. Taiwan and Transnational Chinese Religiosity

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11. Religious Renaissance and Taiwan’s Modern Middle Classes

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pp. 295-322

A remarkable religious renaissance has been taking place in Taiwan from the mid-1980s down to the present (Madsen 2007)—a time period that, not coincidentally, corresponds to Taiwan’s transition to economic prosperity and political democracy (Gold 1987; Rigger 1999).1 Taiwan has always been an island full of folk religion. ...

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12. Goddess across the Taiwan Strait: Matrifocal Ritual Space, Nation-State, and Satellite Television Footprints

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pp. 323-348

This chapter examines the complex interactions among the forces of nation-state, popular religion, media capitalism, and gendered territorialization as these are inflected across the Taiwan Strait.1 Relations across the Strait have been fraught with political tension and military preparations over the question of whether Taiwan is part of China or an independent state. ...


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pp. 349-376


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pp. 377-436

Glossary and Chinese Proper Names

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pp. 437-450


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pp. 451-454


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pp. 455-464

E-ISBN-13: 9780520916203
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520098640

Page Count: 472
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Global, Area, and International Archive