A Comparative History of Religion and Secularism in China

Prasenjit Duara, Professor of Humanities, National University of Singapore

Discussant: Mark Lewis, Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Chinese Culture, Stanford University

This talk will explore the long durée history of religion and the state in late imperial China in comparative perspective. Religions in China have not historically been associated with tensions over fundamental scriptural or cosmological ideals or with ethnic or communal militancy. Rather, there has been competition between the state, elites and popular groups over the issue of cosmological hegemony and access to cosmological power. Duara will track the ways in which the profile of Chinese society was historically shaped by this fault-line. The question of secularism in modern China has to be understood in the context of this particular difference from the Abrahamic religions.

Friday, November 13, 2009 | 4:15 pm — 6:00 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

Center for East Asian Studies