Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China (2014)

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Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China: Transnational Religions, Local Agents, and the Study of Religion, 1800–Present, edited by Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein, and Christian Meyer (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2014).

Edited by Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein, and Christian Meyer

Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China, co-edited by Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein and Christian Meyer, investigates the transformation of China’s religious landscape under the impact of global influences since 1800. The interdisciplinary case studies analyze the ways in which processes of globalization are interlinked with localizing tendencies, thereby forging transnational relationships between individuals, the state and religious as well as non-religious groups at the same time that the global concept ‘religion’ embeds itself in the emerging Chinese ‘religious field’ and within the new academic disciplines of Religious Studies and Theology. The contributions unravel the intellectual, social, political and economic forces that shaped and were themselves shaped by the emergence of what has remained a highly contested category.

The contributors are: Hildegard Diemberger, Vincent Goossaert, Esther-Maria Guggenmos, Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein, Dirk Kuhlmann, LAI Pan-chiu, Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, Christian Meyer, Lauren Pfister, Chloë Starr, Xiaobing Wang-Riese, and Robert P. Weller.

Biographical note

Thomas Jansen, Dr. phil. (2000), is Lecturer for Chinese Studies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. His current project is entitled Religious Text Production in Late Imperial China and explores the cultural history of popular religious scriptures ('baojuan').

Thoralf Klein, Dr. phil (2000), is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Loughborough University (UK). He has published extensively on modern Chinese social, cultural and religious history. His current project investigates political religions in twentieth-century China.

Christian Meyer, Dr. phil. (2003), is currently Privatdozent and Replacement Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He authored Ritendiskussionen am Hof der nördlichen Song-Dynastie and has recently finished a book manuscript on the adoption of Religious Studies in Late Imperial and Republican China.


All interested in the religious dimension of globalization, Chinese religions since 1800, or anyone concerned with Chinese Christianity, Chinese-Western religious interactions, and the discipline of ‘religious studies’ in global perspective.

Table of contents

Notes on contributors

Introduction: Globalization and the Religious Field in China, 1800-Present
Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein and Christian Meyer

Part I. The Transformation of the Religious Field in China: The Changing Role of the State

1. Managing Chinese Religious Pluralism in Nineteenth-century City God Temples
Vincent Goossaert

2. Political Religion in Twentieth-Century China and Its Global Dimension
Thoralf Klein

Part II. Global Currents and their Local Refractions

3. The Christian Century of South China: Church, State, and Community in Chaozhou (1860-1990)
Joseph Tse-hei Lee

4. Sectarian Religions and Globalization in Nineteenth Century Beijing: The Wanbao baojuan 萬寳寶卷 (1858) and other examples
Thomas Jansen

5. Beyond Globalization and Secularization: Changing Religion and Philanthropy in Lukang, Taiwan
Robert Weller

6. ‘Mrs. Ma’ and ‘Ms. Xu’: On the Attractiveness of Denoting Oneself a ‘Buddhist’ in the Increasingly Transnational Milieu of Urban Taiwan
Esther-Maria Guggenmos

7. Globalization vs. Localization: Remaking the Cult of Confucius in Contemporary Quzhou
Xiaobing Wang-Riese

8. Tibetan Buddhist Books in a Digital Age
Hildegard Diemberger

Part III. Chinese-Western Encounters: Global Visions and Cultural Flows

9. A Modern Ruist Religious Vision of a Global Unity: Kang Youwei’s Utopian Vision and its Humanistic Religious Refraction in European Sinology
Lauren Pfister

10. The Buddhist-Christian Encounter in Modern China and the Globalization of Culture
Lai Pan-chiu

Part IV. Knowledge Transfer, Academic Networks, Identity, and the Study of Religions

11. How the ‘Science of Religion’ (zongjiaoxue) as a Discipline Globalized ‘Religion’ in Late Qing and Republican China, 1890-1949 – Global Concepts, Knowledge Transfer, and Local Discourses
Christian Meyer

12. Negotiating Cultural and Religious Identities in the Encounter with the ‘Other’: Global and Local Perspectives in the Historiography of Late Qing/Early Republican Christian Missions
Dirk Kuhlmann

13. Sino-Christian Theology: Treading a Fine Line between Self-determination and Globalization
Chloë Starr



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