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The fifteen studies presented in Confucian Academies in East Asia offer insight into the history and legacy of these unique institutions of knowledge and education. The contributions analyze origins, spread and development of Confucian academies across China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan from multiple perspectives. This edited volume is one of the first attempts to understand Confucian academies as a complex transnational, intellectual, and cultural phenomena that played an essential role in various areas of East Asian education, philosophy, religious practice, local economy, print industry, and even archery. The broad chronological range of essays allows it to demonstrate the role of Confucian academies as highly adaptable and active agents of cultural and intellectual change since the eighth century until today. An indispensable handbook for studies of Confucian culture and institutions since the eighth century until the present.

Contributors are: Chien Iching, Chung Soon-woo, Deng Hongbo, Martin Gehlmann, Vladimír Glomb, Lan Jun, Lee Byoung-Hoon, Eun-Jeung Lee, Thomas H.C. Lee, Margaret Dorothea Mehl, Steven B. Miles, Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, Nguyễn Tuấn-Cường, Linda Walton and Minamizawa Yoshihiko.
Temples and Communities
Based on long-term ethnographic study, this is the first comprehensive work on the Chinese popular religion in Malaysia. It analyses temples and communities in historical and contemporary perspective, the diversity of deities and Chinese speech groups, religious specialists and temple services, the communal significance of the Hungry Ghosts Festival, the relationship between religion and philanthropy as seen through the lens of such Chinese religious organization as shantang (benevolent halls) and Dejiao (Moral Uplifting Societies), as well as the development and transformation of Taoist Religion. Highly informative, this concise book contributes to an understanding of Chinese migration and settlement, political economy and religion, religion and identity politics as well the significance of religion to both individuals and communities.
The religious landscape in Asia has long been diverse, with various forms of syncretic traditions and pragmatic practices continuously having been challenged by centrifugal forces of differentiation. This anthology explores representations and managements of religious diversity in Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and diaspora religions originating in these countries, seen through the lenses of history, identity, state, ritual and geography. In addition to presenting empirical cases, the chapters also address theoretical and methodological reflections using Asia as a laboratory for further comparative research of the relevance and use of 'religious diversity'.

Religious Diversity in Asia was made possible by a framework grant from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation allowing the grant holder (Jørn Borup) and two colleagues (Marianne Q. Fibiger and Lene Kühle) to host a workshop at Aarhus University and to co-arrange workshops in Delhi and Nagoya. We would like to thank professors Arshad Alam and Michiaki Okuyama for hosting these latter workshops at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Nanzan University, and we would like to thank Professor Chong-Suh Kim for the invitation for Jørn Borup to visit Seoul National University. We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the scholars who participated in the workshops and to all the authors we subsequently invited to contribute to our endeavor to create this academically relevant volume.
Scriptural Shamanism in Southwestern China
In Masters of Psalmody (bimo ) Aurélie Névot analyses the religious, political and theoretical issues of a scriptural shamanism observed in southwestern China among the Yi-Sani. Her focus is on blood sacrifices and chants based on a secret and labile writing handled only by ritualists called bimo.

Through ethnographic data, the author presents the still little known bimo metaphysics and unravels the complexity of the local text-based ritual system in which the continuity of each bimo lineage relies on the transmission of manuscripts whose writing relates to lineage blood. While illuminating the usages of this shamanistic tradition that is characterized by scriptural variability between patrilineages, Aurélie Névot highlights the radical changes it is undergoing by becoming a Chinese state tradition.
Understanding Chaoben Culture
In this exciting book, Ronald Suleski introduces daily life for the common people of China in the century from 1850 to 1950. They were semi-literate, yet they have left us written accounts of their hopes, fears, and values. They have left us the hand-written manuscripts ( chaoben 抄本) now flooding the antiques markets in China. These documents represent a new and heretofore overlooked category of historical sources.
Suleski gives a detailed explanation of the interaction of chaoben with the lives of the people. He offers examples of why they were so important to the poor laboring masses: people wanted horoscopes predicting their future, information about the ghosts causing them headaches, a few written words to help them trade in the rural markets, and many more examples are given. The book contains a special appendix giving the first complete translation into English of a chaoben describing the ghosts and goblins that bedeviled the poor working classes.
Beṭṭa Kurumba is a Dravidian language spoken in the Nilgiri and Waynad Hills of India. Annotated Texts in Beṭṭa Kurumba presents folktales and dialogues in this language, together with a grammatical sketch and a glossary. These interlinearised texts provide rich data for linguistic analysis, as well as some of the earliest published cultural information about a highly understudied ethnic group. The cultural information is presented, for the most part, by the Beṭṭa Kurumbas themselves, who speak in their own native language about aspects of their lifestyle, spiritual beliefs, and social organization into clans.
Documenting a Grassroots Revival of Tradition
Although the development of a “popular” brand of Confucianism in China is today a massive phenomenon, research on the topic remains scarce. Based on fieldwork carried out by a team of scholars in different parts of the country, the ambition of The Varieties of Confucian Experience is to contribute to the limited body of ethnographic accounts that aim to document and understand the diversity of phenomena encapsulated under the label “Confucian revival” in the first two decades of the 21st century.
Gods, Ghosts, and People in a Post-Revolutionary Society
This book is a product of over ten years of work. It addresses intermarriage circles, transformations of customs, the rise and fall supernatural forces, power relations among gods, ghosts and people in “synchronic communities,” and tongxiangtongye (same hometown, same industry) economies based on rural sociocultural networks in the author’s native Sun Village in Putian. The author explores the details of microhistory by examining changes and continuities in everyday life to show the grand through the minute.
This exciting book possesses important theoretical significance, including reflections on binary frameworks such as state vs. society and tradition vs. modernity or revolution, along with new arguments about commonly used concepts such as “the cultural nexus of power” and “the hollowing-out of the rural.”
Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh
In Malay Court Religion, Culture and Language: Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh Peter G. Riddell undertakes a detailed study of the two earliest works of Qur’anic exegesis from the Malay-Indonesian world. Riddell explores the 17th century context in the Sultanate of Aceh that produced the two works, and the history of both texts. He argues that political, social and religious factors provide important windows into the content and approaches of both Qur’anic commentaries. He also provides a transliteration of the Jawi Malay text of both commentaries on sūra 18 of the Qur'ān ( al-Kahf), as well as an annotated translation into English. This work represents an important contribution to the search for greater understanding of the early Islamic history of the Malay-Indonesian world.
Situating Scriptural Practices
The Materiality and Efficacy of Balinese Letters examines traditional uses of writing on the Indonesian island of Bali, focusing on the power attributed to Balinese script.The approach is interdisciplinary and comparative, bringing together insights from anthropological and philological perspectives. Scholars have long recognized a gap between the practices of philological interpretation and those of the Javano-Balinese textual tradition. The question is what impact this gap should have on our conception of ‘the text’. Of what relevance, for example, are the uses to which Balinese script has been put in the context of ceremonial rites? What ideas of materiality, power and agency are at work in the production and preservation of palm-leaf manuscripts, inscribed amulets and other script-bearing instruments?
Contributors include: Andrea Acri, Helen Creese, Richard Fox, H.I.R. Hinzler, Annette Hornbacher, Thomas M. Hunter and Margaret Wiener.