Meet the BRINFAITH Project Team

BRINFAITH is developing critically needed expertise for Hong Kong, China and Asia on the religious dimensions of Belt and Road nations and their implications for relations with the Chinese world, with applications in the fields of public policy, education, and intercultural and interreligious understanding. We have formed an international, interdisciplinary team of scholars who specialize in anthropology, geography, history, sociology, political science, religious studies, mapping infographics and big data analytics. They combine expertise on China, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tadjikistan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia; and on the religious communities and networks of Daoism, Chinese religion, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.

BRINFAITH is an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (C7052-18G). Hosted by the Asian Religious Connections (ASIAR) research cluster of the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.


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)

I’m an anthropologist whose research has previously focused primarily on Daoism and on the modern changes and transformations of Chinese society and religion. In recent years, I’ve taken an interest in the transnational circulations of Daoism among spiritual practitioners in contemporary America, in new religious movements in Vietnam in the early 20th century, and in the traditional culture of the Lanten Yao ethnic group on the China-Laos-Vietnam borderland. I’ve also done research on religious cosmopolitanism associated with Asian colonial modernity; and I coordinated an exchange programme between scholars of religion based in India, China and Indonesia. All of these experiences have excited my interest to learn more about religious circulations and influences in between China and the rest of Asia in the modern and contemporary era, and led me to wonder how the expanding Chinese presence and infrastructures in the region will affect these circulations and influences. Through the BRINFAITH collaborative project, it’s been fantastic to explore these questions with a team of outstanding scholars and experts on several countries and religions in the BRI region. I’m grateful to the Hong Kong Research Grants Council and to the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and the Social Sciences for creating the conditions for this project through its Asian Religious Connections cluster.

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Associate Professor, Dept of Cultural and Religious Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

I’m a native New Yorker, holding a Bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies and postgraduate degrees in Religion from Columbia University. My expertise is in the history of Islam in China, and my scholarly interests emphasize the comparative history of ideas and religious and cultural syncretism…….

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Georgios HALKIAS

Associate Professor, Centre of Buddhist StudiesFaculty of Arts, HKU

With expertise in the fields of Tibetan, Himalayan, and Buddhist Studies, I have previously researched the cultural and religious interactions between Islam and Tibet, and the history of religions along the trade routes between the Mediterranean area and south Asia in antiquity…… 

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HO Wai Yip

Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, The Education University of Hong Kong

As a Christian sociologist in Islamic studies, my research and teaching interests include Christian-Muslim relations, China-Gulf Relations, new media and Islam as well as contemporary youths in the Muslim world …… 

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Assistant Professor, HKIHSS, China Studies, Faculty of Arts, HKU

Born and grew up in Chongqing, a mega city on upper Yangtse River of southwest China, I received trainings in history in three cities of three different countries. My  particular interests are on the history of Christianity, religion and local society, women and gender, and cross-cultural studies between China and the West …… 

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QIAN Junxi 

Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, HKU

I’m a social and cultural geographer, working at the intersection of geography, urban studies and cultural studies. My research interests include place politics, urban public space, modernity, religion, China’s ethnic minorities/frontiers, and China’s recent urban transformation ……

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CHAN Kim Kwong 陳劍光

Research Associate, HKU; previous Honorary Research Fellow, University Service Center for China Studies, CUHK

One of my academic interests has been the emigration of Chinese nationals to other countries since the 1990s, and I have been following this population migration with a focus on inter and intra religious dynamics and their sociopolitical implications. As a BRINFAITH collaborator, I will continue to examine this religious dynamic vis-a-vis the geopolitical re-configuration of the current BRI……

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Kenneth DEAN

Professor, Department of Chinese Studies, National University Of Singapore

Research Interests:

Nanyang Chinese in modern Chinese history; History of Religion in China: Daoist Studies; Comparative study of Chinese regional history; The Henghua temple networks in Southeast Asia; Singapore Chinese temples ……

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Senior Research Assistant, HKIHSS, HKU / PhD in social anthropology at the Institute of Ethnology of the University of Münster

My regional specialisation is South-East Asia, where I have conducted long-term social anthropological fieldwork on the role of the Lanten (Yao Mun) rituals experts in Luang Nam Tha Province, Laos, from 2010 onward. My research interests include the comparison of ideologies, animism, Chinese religion and Daoism …… 

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R. Michael FEENER

Professor, Cross-Regional Studies at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University / Associate Member of the History Faculty at the University of Oxford

The main focus of my work is in Islamic Studies, with a particular emphasis on the history of Muslim societies of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean World. My research interests, however, extend beyond legal history and across the broader maritime world of Islam around the Indian Ocean littoral …… 

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Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

I’m a sociocultural anthropologist focusing on mobilities, identities, religious practices, and politics. My theoretical and empirical research is centered around understanding how peoples’ concepts of home and belonging are transformed under broader shifting social conditions ……

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Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology (Sociocultural), The University of California, Davis

My research examine the controversial presence of Chinese migrants in Africa today, with a focus on social interactions between Chinese expatriate and local Zambian communities as they come to interact in contexts of work and religion in southern Zambia ……

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HUANG Weishan

Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology, Hong Kong Shue Yen University

My work mainly focuses on religious movements, migration and globalization, and urban gentrification. My current research at CRS is to propose a study of the reconfiguration of two significant state-planned social phenomena, gentrification and religious revival, and its impacts on Mahayana Buddhist communities in contemporary Shanghai ……

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Post-doctoral Fellow, HKIHSS, HKU

I’m interested in sociocultural and medical anthropology, religious and spiritual movements, gender studies, as well as the intersections between the state, psy-sciences, and self-formation processes in contemporary China. My current research project focuses on holistic spirituality and self-help industries in mainland China and their transnational ties to Indian New Religious Movements …… 

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Research fellow and project coordinator, Department of Religious Diversity, Max Planck Institute (MPI)

I’m interested in transnational religious networks in China and among the Chinese diaspora abroad, missionary movement, state-church relations, religion and nationalism, including national identity …… 

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LEUNG Chun Kai 梁駿楷

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

I’m a political geographer of energy resources, focusing on China’s energy security, geopolitics, and the BRI. My studies here with BRINFAITH examine the institutional and cultural geopolitics of China’s overseas energy infrastructure projects along the commodity chain of the BRI …… 

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LIU Zhao

Ph.D.  in sociology at HKU

My main areas of research include historical sociology, political sociology, cultural sociology, sociology of art, and comparative studies in Asian societies. Now my research focuses on the invention of the revolutionary tradition and social transformations in modern China ……

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Secretary / Lecturer, Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies, Graduate School, Gadjah Mada University

Courses: Indigenous religions; Theories of religion and society; Academic Study of Religion; Agama-Agama Dunia (World Religions); Seni dan Agama (Art and Religion) …… 

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Edward MAN

Research Assistant, HKIHSS, HKU

My research interests include geographic information science, data mining, socio-spatial dynamics and human mobility. I’m currently partaking in the development of web GIS platform, geovisualization, and big data analytics in the BRINFAITH project .…… 

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Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology and SociologyGraduate Institute Geneva

My research interests include mobility, materiality, Islam, humanitarianism and development which he brings together in ethnographic and historical work on Central Asia, South Asia and associated diasporic settings …… 

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Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

I study the events surrounding the 1979 war between China and Vietnam. I also look at local memory in the border province of Lao Cai, at the repression of these events in official history, at the memories of veterans on both sides of the conflict …… 

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Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Faculty of Arts, HKU

I am a scholar of architecture and urbanism in Thailand and Southeast Asia whose research examines the intersections of commercial, spiritual and infrastructural space. My next project, “Peripheries Mobilized,” examines the impact of the Chinese-sponsored Pan Asia Railway on conceptions of periphery and frontier in cities along its central route ……

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PhD candidate, Faculty of Ethnology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

My dissertation focuses on the cultural impact of the ‘China-Maldives Friendship Bridge’ to explore the socio-political imaginations of local populations interacting with this BRI project. I am interested in the complex ways in which infrastructure acts on bodies (vice-versa) and how that informs changing understandings of social being and identity …… 

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Post-doctoral Fellow, HKIHSS, HKU

I earned a B.S. in International Politics from the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, a double master’s degree in International Relations and International History, respectively, from Peking University and The London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Politics from the University of Hong Kong. My research largely focuses on Chinese domestic politics, normative transnational links in Sino-Middle Eastern relations, and the Arab left …… 

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WANG Yuting

Associate Professor of Sociology, American Univerisity of Sharjah / Non-resident Research Fellow, Center on Religion and the Global East at Purdue University

I have published widely on the experiences of religious minorities in the United States (Chinese Christians and immigrant Muslims) and China (Chinese Muslims), transnational religious networks, social changes in the Arabian Gulf, Chinese expatriate community in the UAE, and Sino-UAE relations in the era of Belt and Road …… 

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Orlando WOODS

Assistant Professor of Humanities /
Lee Kong Chian Fellow, Singapre Management University

  • Religion
  • Cities & Urban Landscapes
  • Digital Technologies
  • Space
  • Social & Cultural Geography ……

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Lunar TONG

Multimedia Development Assistant, HKIHSS, HKU

I’m happy here to learn all these wonderful stories on religions, cultures and spirituality of Asia and to unlearn the duality between the sacred and the secular / between the spiritual and the material. I’m working humbly to share these insights with a broader audience.

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