Infrastructures of Faith: Religious Mobilities on the Belt and Road [Brinfaith]

What is the religious impact of China’s intensification of ties and infrastructures linking it to the rest of Asia and beyond?


Marco Polo's caravan from the Catalan Atlas  (Abraham Cresques, Atlas catalan, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Marco Polo’s caravan from the Catalan Atlas

(Abraham Cresques, Atlas catalan, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Historically, on the Silk Road, people carried their faith along with their goods.

The lasting impact of the Silk Road was primarily in the realms of both commerce and religion.

Other than business, religion is the main motivation for the sustained circulation of organized groups between Asian countries.

Religion is a central force shaping the culture, national identity, and often the political ideology of most countries along the Silk Road.

Today, the ancient Silk Road has been re-branded as the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).”

An unintentional effect of the BRI is to facilitate and intensify, and also to manage and control, religious circulations and connections between the nations of Eurasia, through physical and social infrastructures of all kinds.

BRINFAITH is an international collaborative project that aims to map and to understand these connections and consequences.

Welcome to explore these questions with us!

Colombo Container Port (Source: AFP)

Colombo Container Port (Source: AFP)

Our project is investigating the following dimensions of the relationships between the BRI, religions and cosmologies:

(1) the circulation and reconfiguration of religious networks, personnel and practices between Eurasian countries and China, with historical comparisons;

(2) the entanglement of physical and religious infrastructures, in a context of state securitization and geopolitical tensions;

(3) the re-imagining and mapping of sacred geographies and identities, connections and boundaries as a consequence of intensified relationships and geopolitical shifts.