Religious History

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By Mayfair Mei-hui Yang

The lengthy 20th century in China and Taiwan has visible either a dramatic means of state-driven secularization and modernization and a full of life revival of latest non secular lifestyles. chinese language Religiosities explores the usually vexed dating among the trendy chinese language country and spiritual perform. The essays during this entire, multidisciplinary assortment hide a variety of traditions, together with Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Confucianism, Protestantism, Falungong, well known faith, and redemptive societies.Contributors: José Cabezón, Prasenjit Duara, Ryan Dunch, Dru C. Gladney, Vincent Goossaert, Ji Zhe, Ya-pei Kuo, Richard Madsen, Rebecca Nedostup, David Palmer, Benjamin Penny, Mayfair Mei-hui Yang

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Reacting to the perceived or alleged claims of Christianity (itself undergoing reformulation) as the spiritual ideology of the modern era, Chinese and Japanese groups began to create their own new distinctions among ritual, religion, superstition, and secularism—distinctions that also circulated in the East Asian region as a whole. In the first part of this essay, I look at several cases of this reconstitution and circulation, such as the Confucian religion movement; the New Life Movement (Xin Shenghuo Yundong) of the Guomindang; and the adaptation (and nonadaptation) of popular redemptive societies in China, such as the Yiguandao (Way of Pervading Unity) and the recent Falungong (Practice of the Wheel of the Law), among others.

The Religious Affairs Bureau was set up in 1954 under the State Council in Beijing, with lower branch offices at provincial and local levels to oversee the implementation of religious policy. indd 26 8/27/2008 1:01:37 PM Introduction / 27 religious organizations were established to serve as a bridge between various religious communities and the party-state: the Buddhist Association of China was established in 1953, the National Daoist Association in 1957, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (for Protestants) in 1954, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in 1957, and the China Islamic Association in 1953.

This underspecification enables the changing content of the meaning of religion. indd 45 8/27/2008 1:01:40 PM 46 / Prasenjit Duara The vehicles of the traffic I consider here are the practices and ideas of subject-formation whereby citizens and religious subjects are created. In the twentieth century, the term “citizenship” has come to refer to rights and obligations of the individual to the political community—typically, the nation-state. The legal content of citizenship has, of course, changed over the course of the century, and the relationship of rights to obligations has also varied across space.

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