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The Chinese Christianities Unit welcomes papers from the following or related areas:

• Chinese Christianity and Chinese Communism. In the centennial year of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) founding, what can be said about the relationship between Chinese Christianity and Chinese Communism. Figures such as Chen Duxiu, co-founder and first general secretary of the CCP, saw in Jesus a “noble and great character,” whereas Christian thinkers such as Wu Leichuan and Wu Yaozong saw Communism upholding the ideals of Christianity. Who saw the two systems as compatible and why, and who were the detractors? How would the rise of Chinese Communism affect the movement of Chinese Christians around the globe and, into the second half of the 20th century, how they were perceived by anti-Communist governments in Asia (e.g. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia) and in the Western World?
• Globalization and Translation. Chinese have been known as a migratory people, from the Tang dynasty spreading through Asia, until the present day in the Americas, Europe, Oceania, and Africa. How has the global spread of Chinese shaped the globalization of Chinese Christianities—through texts and theologies (e.g. periodicals, Bibles, and sermons of Wang Mingdao and John Song), music (e.g. Streams of Praise and Canaan Hymns), nationalisms (e.g. mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, and American)—reinforced identities or divided subgroups of Chinese Christians? In what ways have these been translated across vernaculars, whether we speak of different Chinese languages or other dominant languages (e.g. English, French, Spanish, etc.).
• Media, Art, and Architecture. Related to the last topic, how have different forms of media, art, and architecture, been used to communicate Chinese Christianities. In what ways have art and architecture been instruments of inculturation of Chinese Christianities? What messages have been propagated through posters and paintings, whether to promote the spread of Chinese Christianities, or to attack it as a problematic “foreign religion” (from the late-19th century “religious cases” to the early-21st century discussions of “sinicization”)? How have forms of new media (photography, video, and, now, social media) been utilized by Chinese Christians—or limited by forms of state- or self-censorship—and how have they negotiated with the overall trajectory of Chinese print and digital cultures?

For a possible co-sponsorship with the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society:
• Race, Religion, and the “China Virus.” The Chinese Christianities Unit and the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Unit invite papers on the themes of health, healing, and religion that take into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other issues that have affected both Asian American and global Sinophone communities, such as SARS, MSG Syndrome, and Mad Cow Disease. For instance, how are local, transnational and global communities interconnected amid the resurgence of anti-Asian racism in the age of COVID-19? While anti-Chinese sentiment is a historical phenomenon, what new connections do we see between religion, politics, race, health, healing and medicine, with the use of slurs such as “China virus” and digital recordings of hate crimes in the social media age? We welcome paper proposals that include a variety of religions and traditions as well as analyses of a range of anti-Asian, intra-Asian and interracial dynamics. We welcome engagement with “democratic” versus “totalitarian” approaches to pandemic life as well as examination of medical practices ranging from traditional Chinese medicine to charismatic healing.


Mission Statement:

This Unit provides a collaborative forum for scholars of different disciplines to engage in an academic discourse about the field of Chinese Christianities. Christianity is the fastest growing religion in mainland China today, and arguably the religion of choice for a growing number of diasporic Chinese. “Chinese” is an expansive term, including mainland China proper as well as a large, linguistically, and culturally diverse diaspora, and encompassing more than a fifth of the world’s population; the Han Chinese people are sometimes described as the world’s largest ethnic group. Hence, with the increasing critical mass of Chinese Christians, there has likewise been a growing academic interest in various instantiations of Chinese Christianities, as understood across geographies (e.g., mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, North America, etc.) and groupings (e.g., house and state-sanctioned churches, Catholic, Pentecostal, etc.). Chinese Christianities both transcend and hinder a number of regional, social, religious, etc. boundaries. Over the course of these five years, this seminar will offer a unique opportunity for scholars to engage and to debate the implications of the multiplicity of Chinese Christianities with regards to the boundaries they engage.

Method of Submission:




Alexander Chow, alexander.chow@ed.ac.uk

Christie Chui-Shan Chow, chui-shan.chow@ptsem.edu


Steering Committee:

Easten Law, egl31@georgetown.edu

Jonathan Tan, jonathan@jonathantan.org

Justin Tse, justintse@smu.edu.sg

Stephanie Wong, stephanie.wong@valpo.edu

Francis Ching-Wah Yip, fyip@post.harvard.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2025