The Modernization of Daoism: Remaking Tradition in a World in Motion

Professor Jean DeBernardi, University of Alberta

19.Nov.2009 17.00 - 18.00
G40, Baines Wing - Leeds


In all parts of the world, the development of global capitalism has provided unprecedented financial means and technologies of communication to religious leaders, enabling them to rework their organizations, develop their networks, and transform their practices. This seminar will consider the contemporary situation of Daoism in China, focusing on innovations in the way the religion is being practiced and promoted, and ask what place tradition has in a global era.


Prof. Jean DeBernardi is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. She received her training as a cultural anthropologist at Stanford University, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago and has been teaching at the University of Alberta since 1991. Her current research explores the modernization of Daoism, focusing on religious and cultural pilgrimage to the Daoist temple complex at Wudang Mountain, South-central China. She has conducted extensive ethnographic research on Chinese popular religion in Malaysia and Singapore and recent publications include Rites of Belonging: Memory, Modernity and Identity in a Malaysian Chinese Community (Stanford University Press, 2004, reprinted by National University of Singapore Press in 2009) and The Way that Lives in the Heart: Chinese Popular Religion and Spirit Mediums in Penang, Malaysia (Stanford University Press, 2006).

This seminar is part of the World Universities Network Contemporary China Center Virtual Seminars programme. This year’s series will focus on social development and political reform from economic, ethnic and ecological perspectives with a focus on issues of fairness and equality. The series allows audiences around the world to hear from leading scholars in Contemporary China studies and to engage in dialogue with one another across geographic boundaries. Each seminar includes an interactive question and answer session across all sites.

If you wish to attend the lecture from another WUN university, please consult your local WUN coordinator for details of where the seminar is being held.

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All welcome!