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How Christianities became Chinese Religions
October 27, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Many types of Christianity have taken root in China, some of them so different that it is best to talk of them sociologically (if not theologically) as Christianities. In Chinese popular discourse, these are all called “foreign religion.” However, they have all in their own ways become indigenized into various parts of a pluralistic Chinese culture. In some cases this has come from above, through the efforts of elite religious and political leaders. In others, from below, through grassroots creativity. A challenge today for these pluralistic Christianities in a pluralistic culture is that the Chinese government is trying to create a unified Chinese culture to support a strong unified political system.
Richard Madsen received an M.A. in Asian studies and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. He is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology the University of California, San Diego, and was a codirector of a Ford Foundation project to help revive the academic discipline of sociology in China. Professor Madsen is the author, or co-author, of twelve books on Chinese culture, American culture, and international relations. His best known works on American culture are those written with Robert Bellah, William Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven Tipton: Habits of the Heart (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995) and The Good Society (New York, Knopf, 1991). His books on China include Democracy’s Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2007), Chen Village under Mao and Deng (co-authored with Anita Chan and Jonathan Unger) (Berkeley, UC Press, 1992), Morality and Power in a Chinese Village (UC Press, 1984) [winner of the C. Wright Mills Award], Unofficial China (co-edited with Perry Link and Paul Pickowicz) (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989), China and the American Dream (UC Press, 1994), China’s Catholics: Tragedy and Hope in an Emerging Civil Society (UC Press, 1998), and Popular China: Unofficial Culture in a Globalizing Society, co-edited with Perry Link and Paul Pickowicz (Boulder, CO: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002).