This course provides a chronological and thematic introduction to Chinese religions from their beginnings until modern times. It examines distinctive concepts, practices and institutions in the religions of China. Emphasis will be placed on the diversity and unity of religious expressions in China, with readings drawn from a wide-range of texts: religious scriptures, philosophical texts, popular literature and modern historical and ethnographic studies. Special attention will be given to those forms of religion common to both “elite” and “folk” culture: cosmology, family and communal rituals, afterlife, morality and mythology. The course also raises more general questions concerning gender, class, political patronage, and differing concepts of religion.
- Teacher: Luke Thompson