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Global China in a Religious World | BRINFAITH 2023 International Conference

August 17 @ 9:00 am - October 28 @ 11:59 pm

Global China in a Religious World BRINFAITH INTERNATIONAL Conference 2023

BRINFAITH 2023 International Conference

Global China in a Religious World

Discussions on the rise of Global China, through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and beyond, have focused on physical infrastructures, financial investments, commerce, and geopolitics. What about the religious dimension of China’s deepening entanglements with the world? Religion is central to the culture and national identity of most BRI and adjacent countries, and, often, their political system and ideology as well. These religions include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, among others. What are the religious implications and consequences of these circulations and frictions? The growing presence of China in countries of the Global South may increase the importance of China in the imagination, strategies, or missionizing goals of religious organizations, movements, political parties and ideologies in those countries. These imaginations, strategies and identity formations may be inflected by a resurfacing of historical imaginations and networks. At the same time, growing links offer opportunities for the international expansion of Chinese religious and spiritual networks and organizations. This increased circulation may impact on China’s religious ecology and complicate China’s internal religious policy as well as its management of religious exchanges in the service of diplomacy and soft power.
This international conference, composed of 3 sessions, will bring together scholars working on different regions and disciplines, to map out the contours of the religious dimensions and implications of Global China, through discussion of empirical studies and testing of different analytical frameworks.

SESSION I [by invitation ONLY]

This session is organised by Asian Religious Connections Research Cluster, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS), The University of Hong Kong.

Session I - Day I - Aug 17

Day I – Aug 17, 2023

@G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong

9:00 – 9:15 Opening Remarks by David A. Palmer, Professor

(Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and Dept of Sociology; Convenor of the Asian Religious Connections Research Cluster, HKIHSS, HKU.)

Panel I – Africa
Chair: Ning Rundong || Discussant: Justin Haruyama

9:15 – 10:15 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Chinese Missionary Movements and the Spread of Christianity in Africa: A Study of the Impact of BRI on Religious Networks in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria by Adedeji Aina Ademola (Obafemi Awolowo University)

Commodifying religion in West Africa: A deconstruction of the syncretic formula of China by Wincharles Coker & Botchway, De-Valera N. Y. M. (University of Cape Coast)

The Role of China’s Contractors in the Construction of Churches in African: Is BRI serving Christian Evangelization Mission? by Conrad John Masabo (University of Dar es Salaam)

10:15 – 11:00 Discussion

======11:00 – 11:15 Break ======

Panel II – Iran and Turkey
Chair: Yana Pak || Discussant: Chan Kim-kwong

11:15 – 12:15 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Between Religious Principalism and Pragmatism: Islamic Republic of Iran and Popular Republic of China by Arash Reisinezhad (University of Tehran) & Marzbali, Mohsen Abbaszadeh (University of Mazandaran)

“The Role of Religion in China-Iran relations (1979-2023): What are the larger Implications”? by Manochehr Dorraj (Texas Christian University)

Tracing China in the Turkish Islamist Imagination by Birol Baskan

12:15 – 13:00 Discussion

======= 13:00 – 14:00 Lunch =======

Panel III – Indonesia
Chair: Michel Chambon || Discussant: Emily Hertzman

14:00 – 15:00 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Is China an Islamophobic Country? Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Battle of Narrative within the Muslim Community in Indonesia by Harry Bawono (National Research and Innovation Agency of the Republic of Indonesia)

“I Love Kung Fu Hustle Movie”: How the Transformation of Chinese Religiosity Affects Indonesian Culture by Kamaruzzaman Bustamam Ahmad (Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Ar-Raniry Banda Aceh)

“We Are Indigenous”: The Eco-Religious Narratives of Indonesian Confucians for National and Global Citizenship by Krisharyanto Umbu Deta (Gadjah Mada University)

15:00 – 15:45 Discussion

====== End of Day I  ======

 

Session I - Day II - Aug 18

Day II – Aug 18, 2023

@G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong

9:00 – 9:15 Opening Remarks by Chen Zhiwu, Professor

(Chair Professor of Finance, Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Finance, Director, Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong)

Panel IV – Malaysia & Philippines
Chair: Jules Liu || Discussant: Orlando Woods

9:15 – 10:15 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Unpacking China’s halal trade networks in the Belt and Road Initiative: a political economy approach by Brian U. Doce (Murdoch University)

The Question of Allegiance for Chinese Salafi Muslim Immigrants in Malaysia by JIANG Xiaokun (Utrecht University)

Indigenous Cosmologies and Religiosity: How Indigenous Groups Mobilize Against Chinese Dams in the Philippines by Alvin Camba (University of Denver)

10:15 – 11:00 Discussion

====== 11:00 – 11:15 Break ======

Panel V- Arab World
Chair: Orlando Woods || Discussant: Cao Nanlai

11:15 – 12:00 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Healing Ties: China’s Health Silk Road and Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Arab Gulf by Wang Yuting (American University of Sharjah)

Han Chinese Conversion to Islam in Dubai: Unexpected Consequences of Global China Encountering Cosmopolitan Islam by Jacqueline Armijo (University of Hawaii at Hilo, Chinese University of Hong Kong)

12:00-12:30 Discussion

====== 12:30 – 13:30 Lunch ======

Panel VI – Cambodia and Thailand
Chair: Anna Iskra || Discussant: Michel Chambon

13:30 – 14:30 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Mandarin Education, Chinese Influence, and Taiwanese Cooperation: The Rapid Growth of Yiguandao in Cambodia over the Past Decade by Richard Ping-i Li (National Chengchi University)

The spectacular performances featuring Buddhism at popular tourist spots, such as UNESCO sites in China and Cambodia by Enhua Zhang (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

The Giant Guanyin that Never Was: The BRI and Religion in the Realpolitik of South Thailand by Joseba Estévez (University of Hong Kong)

14:30-15:00 Discussion

====== 15:00 – 15:15 Break ======

15:15 – 16:15 General discussion and closing

remarks by Tansen Sen and David Palmer

SESSION II [Online, open for public registration]

This session is organised by Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore via ZOOM.

Session II - Day I - Aug 22

Day I // Aug 22, 2023

12:00 – 12:15 Opening Remarks

 

Panel I – Myanmar
Chair: Emily Hertzman || Discussant: Qian Junxi

12:15 – 13:00 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Achieving Magnificence (Zhuangyan) through Becoming an Ideal Patron: Merit Making and Loving-kindness in the Trade of Marble Buddhist Images across the Myanmar-China Border by Beiyin Deng (Arizona State University)

Trans-regionalisation, Cross-border Monks and Local Buddhist Devotees: The Revival of Theravada Buddhism in China’s Southwestern Borderland Xishuangbanna by Zhen Ma (Dali University, Yunnan)

13:00 – 13:30 Discussion

====================

Panel II – Chinese religious circulations: China, Southeast Asia and Beyond
Chair: Joseba Estévez || Discussant: Huang Weishan

18:00 – 19:15 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

The Transformation and Transmission of Chinese Shigandang Belief in Modern Vietnam by Hoang-Yen Nguyen (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU-HCMC)

State, Space and Identity: Cantonese death ritual in contemporary Singapore by CHAN Hong Yin Donald (Tel Aviv University)

Migrants, Monks, Monasteries: A Study of the Buddhist Networks between China and Malaya by GOOI Ming Kuan (University of Malaya)

Struggle of identity of transnational Buddhist meditation practices in Contemporary China by LAU, Ngar-sze (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

19:15 – 20:15 Discussion

====== 20:15 – 20:30 Break ====== 

Panel III – Africa
Chair: Ning Rundong || Discussant: Li Ji

20:30 – 21:30 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Muslim Identity and Religious Encounter of Hui Muslims in Dakar, Senegal by Deng Zheyuan (University of Florida)

Buddhist Networks and Discourses in and outside Madagascar by Xuefei Shi (Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway)

Assembling Shaolin in Zambia: Chinese Migrants, Philanthropy and Cultural Heritage by Hangwei Li (China Agricultural University)

21:30 – 22:15 Discussion

====== End of Day I ======

Session II - Day II - Aug 23

Day II // – Aug 23, 2023

Panel IV – Chinese Popular Religion in South and Southeast Asia before and after BRI: Religious Developments along the “Maritime Silk Road”
Chair: Huang Weishan || Discussant: Anna Iskra

12:00 – 13:15 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Living with the Yinfrastructure: Shadow Infrastructure of Chinese Popular Religion in West Kalimantan, Indonesia by Emily Hertzman (National University of Singapore)

Weaving for gods: Eng Dian Huat and the Sino-Singapore Teochew Embroidery Trade, 1950-60s by Yu Kang & Wang Sisi (National University of Singapore)

From Replicating Hometown to Tracing Roots: A Case Study of Singapore’s Ling Hong Tong Temple by Wu Qi (National University of Singapore)

The Chinese temples, monasteries, regional associations and cemeteries of Kolkata: evidence from epigraphy by Kenneth Dean (National University of Singapore)

13:15 – 13:55 Discussion

====== 13:55– 14:15 Break ======

Panel V – Islam and transnational connections in China
Chair: Chan Kim-kwong || Discussant: Janice Hyeju Jeong

14:15 – 15:00 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Money is Everything: Ineffective Islamic Constraints in the Labor Market by Wen Meizhen (Zhejiang Normal University)

The Struggle to Join the Ummah: Islamic Education and Cleric Training under the Newest Religious Regulations in China by Yang Xiaozhen (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

15:00 – 15:30 Discussion

====================

Panel VI – Temples and BRI connections
Chair: Qian Junxi || Discussant: Tansen Sen

18:00 – 19:00 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

In Search of a Persian Past in Yangzhou: The ‘New Silk Road’ Initiative and China-Iran Relations by Pascale Bugnon (University of Geneva)

One belt, One road, One old horse- Trans-cultural Buddhist Heritage in China’s oldest Temple by Kai Shmushko (Leiden University\Tel Aviv University)

Working on the Wonder – Guanyin devotionalism and transnational spiritual efficacy in contemporary secular China and beyond by Weishan Huang (Hong Kong Shue Yan University)

19:00 – 19:45 Discussion

====== 19:45 – 20:00 Break ======

20:00 – 21:00 Closing Remarks

SESSION III [Online, open for public registration]

This session is organised by Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai via ZOOM. Session chairs and discussants are to be confirmed.

Session III - Day I - Oct 27

Day I // Oct 27, 2023

12:00 – 12:15 Opening Remarks

 

Panel I – Religious and Secular Utopias and China
12:15 – 13:15 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

When Sacred Fire Meets Revolution: Female Workers’ Evening Schools in 1930s Shanghai by Miao Feng (The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

W.E.B. Du Bois on China and Pan-African Utopia: From Afro-Orientalism to Afrofuturism by Saheed Yinka Adejumobi (Seattle University)

BRI Projects as Secular Faiths by Pengfei Hou (Xinjiang University)

13:15 – 14:00 Discussion

====================

Panel II – Sri Lanka and Pakistan
18:00 – 19:00 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Buddhist Diplomacy of China: From Religious Diplomacy to Economic Partnership – A Sri Lankan Experience by Anuththaradevi Widyalankara (University of Colombo-Sri Lanka)

China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Sri Lanka: ‘Buddhist Diplomacy’ as a Strategic Soft Diplomacy Tool by Asantha Senevirathna (General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University)

Religious Dimensions of China’s Global Rise in Pakistan: Circulations, Frictions, and Implications by Sania Muneer (SOAS University of London)

19:00 – 19:45 Discussion

====== 19:45 – 20:00 Break ======

Panel III – Religion and bilateral relations
20:00 – 20:45 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Religious Factors in China and Saudi Arabia Relationship by SUN Xiaowen (Renmin University of China)

Balancing Christian Nationalism and Pro-China Policies: Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and His “Opening to the East” Program by Armin Langer (University of Florida)

20:45 – 21:15 Discussion

====== End of Day I ======

Session III - Day II - Oct 28

Day II // Oct 28, 2023

12:00 – 12:15 Opening Remarks

Panel IV – India and Himalayan region
12:15 – 13:15 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

Contesting Footprints of Buddha: India and Japan’s Responses to China’s Buddhist Diplomacy in South Asia by Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya (University of Delhi)

Mapping the Terrain of an Alienated Borderland: Territorial disputes in the Eastern Himalayas and the re-invention of Buddhism by Georgios T. Halkias (The University of Hong Kong)

China’s Religious Promotion Along the Borders in the Trans-Himalaya Region by Abhigya Langeh (Central University of Jammu)

13:15 – 14:00 Discussion

====================

Panel V – Islamic world
18:00 – 19:00 Paper presentations and discussants’ comments

China’ Quest to Build a Religious Soft Power in the Middle East by Ahmet Üçağaç (Sakarya University)

China and the Islamic World: A Religious Perspective in the New Cold War by Jianping Wang (Shanghai Normal University)

Religiosity and Attitudes towards China in the Arab World: An Analysis of the Arab Barometer Survey Data by Marko Jovanović (Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia)

19:00 – 19:45 Discussion

====== 19:45 – 20:00 Break ======

20:00 – 21:00 Closing Remarks

ORGANIZER

Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS), The University of Hong Kong

CO-ORGANIZERS

Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore;

Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai

 

CONVENOR

Prof. David A. Palmer (Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong)

CO-CONVENORS

Prof. Tansen Sen (Center on Global Asia, NYU Shanghai)

Dr Michel Chambon (Initiative for the Study of Asian Catholics, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore)

Dr Emily Hertzman (Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore)

 The conference is generously supported by the project Infrastructures of Faith: Religious Mobilities on the Belt and Road (BRINFAITH) at the Asian Religious Connections research cluster of the HKIHSS, University of Hong Kong.

Details

Start:
August 17 @ 9:00 am
End:
October 28 @ 11:59 pm
Event Category:

Venue

G/F Lecture Hall, May Hall, HKU & Via ZOOM

Organizers

BRINFAITH, Asian Religious Connections Research Cluster, HKIHSS, HKU
Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore
Centre for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai