East Asian Languages and Cultures | History of Religion in China
E202 | 068A | Raz


This course will examine the history of religious traditions in
China, from the ancient period to the present. Looking at ancient
records on divination bones we will try to understand the beliefs
and practices of the Chinese in the 2nd millennium BCE. Surfing the
world-wide-web we will look at the resurgence of self-cultivation
practices in present day China, and the suppression of the wildly
popular movement of Falun gong. In between we will trace the
developments of traditional Chinese religions. We will examine
shamanistic practices, immortality cults, popular and imperial
practices, the development of Daoism and integration of Buddhism in
China.

We will look at how these diverse traditions interacted to produce
the religious practices by which people celebrated their lives and
mourned their dead. Looking at these four millennia of religious
developments and transformations we will see the creative
imagination by which people communicate their ultimate questions. We
will also ponder our own traditions and reflect upon our own
ultimate questions.