Event — Seminar

New Religious Nationalism in Chinese Societies

During this two-day seminar (21-22 April 2016), participants from various countries will apply philosophical, religious, historical, political, and/or cognitive approaches to explore the relationship between religion and (national) identity formation in Chinese societies in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Dates: 21 - 22 April 2016

Convenor: Prof. Cheng-tian Kuo, IIAS Taiwanese Chair of Chinese Studies, IIAS and Leiden University / National Chengchi University, Taiwan

The seminar is organised by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in the Netherlands and it is co-sponsored by the Chiang-Ching Kuo Foundation for Scholarly Exchanges, Taiwan.

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, ethnic conflicts have exacerbated within Chinese societies and between them and their neighboring countries. Xinjian independence movement, Tibetan independence movement, Taiwan independence movement, and even Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution in 2016 saw different degrees of active participation by religious organizations, which provide both ideological and organizational resources to support these ethnic/nationalist movements. Territorial disputes between China/Taiwan and their neighboring countries are also accompanied with the rise of new religious nationalism to mobilize their citizens in preparation for war. Although these ethnic conflicts are much more complex and long-lasting than their counterparts in traditional China due to postmodern combination of ethnic and religious movements, new experiments with democratic institutions in Taiwan and Hong Kong also provide possible new solutions to these religious/ethnic conflicts.

Papers at this seminar address the above theme from five (inter-) disciplinary approaches: Philosophical, religious, historical, political, and/or cognitive approaches. Is Confucianism a humanitarian ideology or, as some recent scholarship has argued, a humanitarian ideology with strong religious elements? What are the historical roots of Chinese nationalism and “tributary empire” which the Chinese state is promoting? Was Chinese state a “religious state” and Chinese society a “religious society”? Is current Chinese nationalism a “pseudo religion” or a “state cult”? What are the theological and organizational supports different religious groups in these Chinese societies have provided to the “nationalist program” of each government? How do democratic institutions in Taiwan and Hong Kong help to ameliorate domestic ethnic/religious conflicts? Can they provide practical models to solutions of ethnic/religious conflicts within and across borders? What are the new policies and ideological justifications of Xi Jinping regime toward ethnic/religious groups? What are possible scenarios of state-religion relations in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and their implications for territorial disputes with their neighboring countries?


The programme including an overview of the presenters and their presentations is available below under "Attachments".


Please register via the form below if you are interested in attending the seminar as a listener.


For enquiries about the seminar, please contact Ms Martina van den Haak at m.c.van.den.haak@iias.nl