The Body in Chinese Religions
The CCK Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinology and the George Washington University’s Confucius Institute co-sponsored a one-and-half day workshop entitled “The Body in Chinese Religions.” The workshop was held on Feb. 2 and 3, 2018, and it brought together 12 US scholars and advanced graduate students who are currently working on body, medicine, gender and Chinese religions. As a follow-up of what we have achieved from last year’s workshop, this year we aimed to advance the newly established sub-field of gender and religion in the China field by focusing on how to read primary texts on the “body” in Chinese religion with gender perspectives. The conference participants discussed a great variety of key primary texts, ranging from Buddhist and Daoist scriptures and steles, Confucian texts, medical texts, ritual manuals, and Communist anti-shaman propaganda literature. The participants concluded that the workshop was tremendously constructive. It provided a rare yet much needed opportunity for scholars of diverse backgrounds to discuss each other’s primary sources in greater depth, helped them solve difficult textual issues, see the sources in different lights, and reshape their individual research/book project in new ways. It also allows the participants to address some key concepts and conceptual issues in various Chinese religious traditions over time and across disciplinary boundaries. Finally, all workshop participants strongly hope that, given how rare yet needed these kind of workshops are for the field, CCK will continue to sponsor workshops of this nature in the coming years, in order to foster more extensive scholarly discussions on primary texts and advance both research and teaching in the field of gender and Chinese religions.