David A. PALMER 宗樹人

Professor, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences(HKIHSS) / Department of Sociology, The University of Hong Kong(HKU) | profile link

Dr David A Palmer is a Professor jointly appointed by the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong, which he joined in 2008. After completing his Ph.D. at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (School for Advanced Research, Université Paris PSL), he was the Eileen Barker Fellow in Religion and Contemporary Society in the Department of Sociology of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and, from 2004 to 2008, Director of the Hong Kong Centre of the French School of Asian Studies (Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient), located at the Institute for Chinese Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Palmer’s interdisciplinary research and teaching is situated at the intersection of sociology and anthropology, and is informed by scholarly traditions in history, religious studies and Sinology. He is best known for his award-winning books The Religious Question in Modern China (Joseph Levenson Award of the Association for Asian Studies and PROSE award of the American Publishers’ Association, co-authored with V. Goossaert) and Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China (Francis L.K. Hsu Award of the Society for East Asian Anthropology), both of which have become essential reading for studies on contemporary Chinese society and religion. His latest book Dream Trippers: Global Daoism and the Predicament of Modern Spirituality (Edward Bruner Prize for the best book in the Anthropology of Tourism by the American Anthropological Association and Oustanding Research Output Award of the HKU Faculty of Social Sciences; co-authored with E. Siegler) was published in 2017 by the University of Chicago Press. He has also published numerous articles, journal issues and edited volumes on Chinese religion, civil society, Daoism, the Bahá’í Faith, and modern and transnational religious movements. His writings have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as Current Anthropology, American Anthropologist, Economy and Society, The Journal of Asian Studies and Modern Asian Studies.

He leads the “Asian Religious Connections” research cluster at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, where he directs a GRF grant on “Daoism, Ethnic Identity and State Socialism: the Lanten Yao on the China-Vietnam-Laos Borderland” and a CRF grant on “Infrastructures of Faith: Religious Mobilities on the Belt and Road.”

BRI Mapbox: An Online Map Generating Database

The BRI Mapbox illustrates the spatial configuration between infrastructures and religious factors in the BRI region. This work maps out and correlates routes, borders, railroads, pipelines, ports and free trade zones with demographic, economic and geo-political data in both contemporary and retrospective timeframes. These spatial features form a...

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Spacializing the BRI in the History of Asian Imperial Imaginations

This subproject situates the contemporary mapping of the BRI within the history of the spacial imagination of Asia, using the notion of “empire” as a conceptual tool to interrogate how the connecting and separation of places through networks and infrastructures of trade and religion have been associated with different imaginations, juxtapositions...

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