CfP: Global China in a Religious World



Global China in a Religious World

Organizer: Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS), The University of Hong Kong

Co-convenors: Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore; Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai

17-18 Aug. 2023 (in person, HKIHSS, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong)
22-23 Aug. 2023 (online, hosted by ARI)

Discussions on the rise of Global China, through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and beyond, have focused on physical infrastructures, financial investments, commerce, and geopolitics. What about the religious dimension of China’s deepening entanglements with the world? Religion is central to the culture and national identity of most BRI and adjacent countries, and, often, their political system and ideology as well. These religions include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, among others. What are the religious implications and consequences of these circulations and frictions? The growing presence of China in countries of the Global South may increase the importance of China in the imagination, strategies, or missionizing goals of religious organizations, movements, political parties and ideologies in those countries. These imaginations, strategies and identity formations may be inflected by a resurfacing of historical imaginations and networks. At the same time, growing links offer opportunities for the international expansion of Chinese religious and spiritual networks and organizations. This increased circulation may impact on China’s religious ecology and complicate China’s internal religious policy as well as its management of religious exchanges in the service of diplomacy and soft power.

This international workshop will bring together scholars working on different regions and disciplines, to map out the contours of the religious dimensions and implications of Global China, through discussion of empirical studies and testing of different analytical frameworks.

Scholars are invited to submit paper proposals on empirical studies touching on one or more of the following topics:

The circulation and penetration of religious networks, personnel and practices between China and other countries, including countries of the BRI and beyond, including through migration, trade or missionary movements;
Religious entanglements and responses to Chinese-invested infrastructure projects;
Evolving religious and civilizational discourses, identities and imaginaries as a consequence of intensified relationships between China and other nations;
State management and control, whether by China or other countries, of increased religious flows in a context of securitization and geopolitical tensions;
Religious factors in national politics or geopolitics involving China.

Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 100 words for submission. Please download and use the paper proposal form and send it as a Word document file by 20 April 2023. Successful applicants will be notified by early May.

Download the paper proposal form via the conference webpage:

Applicants may indicate a preference for in-person and/or online participation. Conference participants selected for in-person participation will be provided with return economy airfare to Hong Kong and three nights of accommodation at the workshop hotel (one author per paper), and will also be provided with an honorarium of 5000 HKD. Online participants will be provided with a modest honorarium.

Please also include a statement confirming that your paper has not been published previously. Conference papers may potentially be invited for inclusion in an edited volume or special issue, in collaboration with the workshop organizers and/or other participants. Paper presenters will be required to submit paper drafts by 12 Aug. 2023. These drafts will be circulated to fellow panelists and discussants in advance. Drafts need not be fully polished as we expect that presenters will wish to incorporate feedback from fellow participants.

The conference is generously supported by the project Infrastructures of Faith: Religious Mobilities on the Belt and Road (BRINFAITH) at the Asian Religious Connections Research Cluster of the HKIHSS, University of Hong Kong.

Prof. David A. Palmer (Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong)

Prof. Tansen Sen (Center on Global Asia, NYU Shanghai)

Dr Michel Chambon (Initiative for the Study of Asian Catholics, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore) Dr Emily Hertzman (Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore)