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Religion, Place and Modernity

Spatial Articulations in Southeast Asia and East Asia

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Edited by Michael Dickhardt and Andrea Lauser

Using the potential of place as an approach and of places as ethnographic contexts, the authors in this volume investigate the multiple entanglements of ‘religion’ and ‘modernity’ in contemporary settings. The guiding questions of such an approach are: How are modernity and religion spatially articulated in and through places? How do these articulations help us to understand the ways in which religion becomes socially and culturally significant in modern contexts? And how do they reveal the ways in which modernity unfolds within religion? Thus, places are not only understood as neutral locations or extensions, but as spatial modes to mediate properties, contents and processes of religion and modernity. Based on ethnographic and historical research in Southeast and East Asia and featuring reflections on the concepts of religion and modernity respectively, the authors offer a deeper understanding of the articulation of a religious modernity in these regions and beyond. Contributors are: Nikolas BROY¸ CHAN Yuk Wah, Michael DICKHARDT, Volker GOTTOWIK, Patrice LADWIG, Andrea LAUSER, Jovan MAUD, YEOH Seng-Guan, Clemens SIX, Paul SORRENTINO, Alexander SOUCY, Sing SUWANNAKIJ.

Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller

Unlike the Toba Batak, their more populous and powerful neighbours in northern Sumatra, the western Karo Batak today claim they have no creation myth. Yet certain clues point to shared cosmogony among several Batak groups, now reinforced by Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller’s discovery of a very old traditional house among the western Karo. The symbolic decoration of the house eliminates all doubt: the western Karo once viewed the cosmos as divided into three worlds – Upper, Middle and Lower. The giant dragon who lived in the Lower World carried the Middle World (where humans reside) on its back, while the Upper World was the abode of a supreme deity accompanied by his sons, spirits and the souls of human ancestors who had been rich and powerful.

Buddhism in China

Collected Papers of Erik Zürcher

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Erik Zürcher

Edited by Jonathan A. Silk

Buddhism in China gathers together for the first time the most central and influential papers of the great scholar of Chinese Buddhism, Erik Zürcher, presenting the results of his career-long profound studies following on the 1959 publication of his landmark The Buddhist Conquest of China. The translation and language of Buddhist scriptures in China, Buddhist interactions with Daoist traditions, the activities of Buddhists below elite social levels, continued interactions with Central Asia and lands to the west, and typological comparisons with Christianity are only some of the themes explored here. Presenting some of the most important studies on Buddhism in China, especially in the earlier periods, ever published, it will thus be of interest to a wide variety of readers.

Asia in the Making of Christianity

Conversion, Agency, and Indigeneity, 1600s to the Present

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Edited by Richard Fox Young and Jonathan A. Seitz

Drawing on first person accounts, Asia in the Making of Christianity studies conversion in the lives of Christians throughout Asia, past and present. Fifteen contributors treat perennial questions about conversion: continuity and discontinuity, conversion and communal conflict, and the politics of conversion. Some study individuals (An Chunggŭn of Korea, Liang Fa of China, Nehemiah Goreh of India), while others treat ethnolinguistic groups or large-scale movements. Converts sometimes appear as proto-nationalists, while others are suspected of cultural treason. Some transition effortlessly from leadership in one religious community into Christian ministry, while others re-convert to new forms of Christianity. The accounts collected here underscore the complexity of conversion, balancing individual agency with broader social trends and combining micro- with macrocontextual approaches.