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  • Conferences

Association for Asian Studies

Chicago, March 22-25, 2018

Panels involving Daoist topics included "Ritual Design in China," presenting transdisciplinary discussions on ritual from the angles of performativity, visuality, and materiality; "An Archeology of the Popular: Renegotiating Language, Point of View, and Authority in Yuan/Ming Chinese Songs and Theater," focusing on shifts in the popularity and status of drama as well as the literary uses of vernacular language, fictional portrayal, and humor; "Indian Gods, Chinese Trigrams, and the Transmission and Assimilation of Divinatory Techniques in China," exploring divination with its often highly specific methods and material culture as a source for larger studies of the transmission and assimilation of traditions across cultural and linguistic boundaries; "Life along the Silk Road," challenging the image of the Silk Road as transit-focused and looking more closely at local affairs through examining contracts, legal records, iconography, and military communications; "Hearing Women's Voices: Meaning-Making and Misinterpretation of Female-'Authored' Discourse in Medieval China," exploring the diverse, and at times ingenious, ways in which women occupying various social roles in medieval China have fashioned for themselves meaningful modes of expression.

—Keith Knapp

Authority versus Authenticity

12th International Conference on Daoist Studies

Beijing, June 1-4, 2018

Focusing on the relationship of inner truth in contrast (and conflict) with outer circumstances, an issue that has pervades Daoist history and culture, this conference brought together 160 participants from twenty different countries. Due to political pressure regarding the discussion of religious matters, and especially cultivation, at a state-sponsored academic institution, it divided into two parts. The more cultural and theoretical [End Page 247] portion was held June 1-2 at Beijing Normal University; the more spiritual and practical section was hosted on June 3-4 at the Laozi Academy, a highly modern facility built around an original Yuan-dynasty temple in the northwestern part of the city.

Besides various takes on authority versus authenticity, panels discussed self and society, metaphysics and medicine, texts and lineages, expressions in Daoist art, internal alchemy, modern developments, modes of teaching, and many more. Workshops taught different forms of taiji quan and qigong—although that term was prudently eschewed. Participants enjoyed connecting with old friends and making new ones, learning from each other and sharing new insights. Four presentations appear in this volume, those by Shen, Meyer, Bloch, and Jeffrey.

—Livia Kohn

American Academy of Religion

Denver, November 17-20, 2018

The Daoist Studies Unit held a number of exciting panels at the AAR:

"Scathing Screeds: Polemics as a Means of Defining One's Religion in Imperial China," with Pauline Lee as chair, convening speakers David Bratt, Keith Knapp, Thomas Jülch, Albert Welter, and Mark Halperin, University of California.

"Stones along the Path: Explorations in Daoist Epigraphy," convened by Gil Raz. Speakers included Beverley Zhang, Huaiyu Chen, Jonathan Pettit, and Jennifer Bussio.

"Yoga in India and China," with Dan Lusthaus as chair and presentations by Gerald J. Larson, Karen O'Brien-Kop, and Dominic SteavuBalint.

"Vision and Visualization in Art, Alchemy, and Ritual: Exploring Daoist Modes of Perception," with James A. Benn presiding. Speakers included Anna Hennessey, Mark Meulenbeld, Aaron Reich, and Noelle Giuffrida.

"Excavated Manuscripts and Religious Thought in Ancient China," convened by Tobias Zuern, with Roy Porat, Adrien Stoloff, and Samuel Goldstein. For more details, see

—Elena Vallussi and Jessey Choo [End Page 248]


Dao and Time

Personal Cultivation and Spiritual Transformation 13th International Conference on Daoist Studies

Los Angeles, June 20-23, 2019

Time is a major factor, if not the major factor, of human life. It is key to everything we do, in one way or another ruling our lives, determining our choices, and setting our goals. It is highly relevant to many aspects of Daoism, from cosmology and philosophy through ritual and cultivation to fate calculation and daily activities. This year's conference focuses on Daoist conceptions and applications of time in all different dimensions, but with a particular focus on personal cultivation and spiritual transformation. Moreover, it is in close temporal proximity to the 17th Triannial Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time ( For more details and to...


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pp. 247-250
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