Papers on Religion V

4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Room F

  • Chaired by Yee Yak Elliot Lee
  • Lu Chen, “The Moving Temple一A Study on the Religious Associations of Fishermen in the Eastern Part of Tai Lake”
  • Yeh-Ying Shen, “The Role of Women in Yiguan Dao 一貫道”
  • Yuanjie Zhang, “Mass Communication of Religious Culture in E-Commerce: Taking Religious Products in ‘Taobao’ and ‘Weidian’ as Examples”
  • Grete Schönebeck, “Contemporary Graves as a Space of Change and Continuity”

Lu Chen, “The Moving Temple一A Study on the Religious Associations of Fishermen in the Eastern Part of Tai Lake”

Fishermen from the east Tai Lake constituted a marginalized group that was at the bottom of local social stratification. From the oral history of fishermen, a large number of religious associations were founded around the 1930s. These associations played an important role not only for fishermen’s religious life but also in regard to their-self-governance as a marginalized community. After the Chinese Cultural Revolution, fishermen’s religious associations revived. Though the state control on Chinese popular religion and local society is increasing in recent years, fishermen’s religious associations have well-organized structure and still play a certain role on self-governance, and every year they organize several big temple festivals which have been legitimized by the state in the name of “Intangible culture heritage”.
This project will exam fishermen’s religious associations as a folk social institution in
contemporary Chinese society. I will look at how fishermen’s religious associations recreate a sense of fishermen’s religious community and identity which displays a certain amount of autonomy from the state authority in this huge transforming Chinese society, and fishermen’s personal understanding of their religious life in this changing society.
Through ethnographic research, this project provides a thick description of fishermen’s religious associations and their interaction of different actors in the local context; it also provides a lens to through which to understand how religious transformation connects with other spheres of social transformation, such as an economic change in modernizing China.

Yeh-Ying Shen, “The Role of Women in Yiguan Dao 一貫道”

The role of women in Yiguan Dao is related to their significant teachings: The Rise of the Female Era (kundao yingyun 坤道應運). This notion emerged as China’s modernization began. Kundao 坤道, which originates from I-Ching, refers to the female gender; and yingyun 應運 indicates that women could have more opportunities to present themselves alongside having influences on all the domains of our societies.
Sun Huiming 孫慧明, who is one of Yiguan Dao’s 18th patriarchs, represents the symbol of kundao yingyun as she was the single female patriarch for the entirety of their duration. Sun’s characteristics, which appeared to be forbearing, self-sacrificing, yet with good leadership, also provide a model for women who convert to Yiguan Dao.
In contemporary Yiguan Dao, women do enrich the communities via their participation. They play a supportive role, as well as undertake the responsibility of being clergy. Some of them are also freed from the traditional patriarchalism in Chinese society through the religious missions they opt for. Modern feminism should not be the major reason for women’s progressive role in Yiguan Dao. However, it is the notion of kundao yingyun that promotes the trend. Thus, Sun Huiming’s image appears to be important and implies that women have gained the right to speech through cultivation.

Yuanjie Zhang, “Mass Communication of Religious Culture in E-Commerce: Taking Religious Products in ‘Taobao’ and ‘Weidian’ as Examples”

This paper will analyze the new features of the spread of religious culture in the new media by analyzing the phenomenon of religious products selling well in online shopping platforms represented by Weidian 微店 and Taobao 淘宝 in recent years. Some scholars have studied the monk’s using of the Internet and social media. However, this article observes that the innovation of religious communication is constantly improving on the Internet, and has expanded to the fields of e-commerce and cultural creativity industry. With the development of the self-media, many religious groups or monks have begun to attach importance to cultural communication and image building on the Internet. They attracted a large number of young, highly educated, non-local believers, and gradually formed new religious communication communities. Facing new media and audiences, the innovation of religious products makes it easier for religious culture to adapt to the development of the times and meet the actual needs of believers. Moreover, from the innovative expression methods and tools一expanding the influence of the network-spreading religious culture-selling creative religious products-building a new image, a more complete religious-cultural communication chain is being formed on the Internet

Grete Schönebeck, “Contemporary Graves as a Space of Change and Continuity”

Since the early 20th century, Chinese politicians repeatedly engaged in the question of how to deal with the dead. Different regulations and reform plans promoted the change of what is being named traditional funeral culture (chuantong binzang wenhua 传统殡葬文化) into a modern, sanitary, space, and resource-saving practice of dealing with the deceased. Regularly, Chinese media reported, how people did not oblige to those standards. This paper presents findings based on field research on some 30 graveyards all over mainland China in 2014/15 that show how graves reveal on the one hand the state’s commitment to overthrowing old wasteful practices and on the other hand, people’s search for the adequate burial of their ancestors. It is further argued that the interaction between administrative restrictions and the bereaved create new burial practices that undergo continuous modifications but at the same time this process of negotiating guarantees that the needs of the bereaved as individuals and in the more extensive context of their families are being met.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room F