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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


2022 Chuan Lyu Lectures in Taiwan Studies

Religions in Contemporary Taiwan: Positioning the Sacred in a Secular Society

Professor Philip Clart, Leipzig University

[ combined series poster ]

In this year’s series of two Chuan Lyu Lectures in Taiwan Studies, the speaker endeavours to provide insights into the role of religion in contemporary Taiwanese society. One lecture addresses the use of museums by religious organisations as interfaces with a secular public order and the state educational system, while the second lecture addresses the religious practices of individuals and small-scale temple-focused communities. It details the provision of ritual divination services by specialised temples (‘spirit-writing cults’, luantang 鸞堂), patterns of patron usage of these services, and the insights we can draw from them about the social dynamics of present-day popular religion in Taiwan.

Philip Clart is Professor of Chinese Culture and History at Leipzig University. He is the author and editor (or co-editor) of several books in the field of Chinese religions, including Religion in Modern Taiwan: Tradition and Innovation in a Changing Society (2003); Han Xiangzi: The Alchemical Adventures of a Daoist Immortal (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2007); The People and the Dao: New Studies of Chinese Religions in Honour of Daniel L. Overmyer (2009); Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions (2012); Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China: 1800–2012 (2015); Daoism and Local Cults: Rethinking the Paradigms (2020); Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts (2020); Book Culture from China: Traces in Leipzig (2021). He has served in various capacities as a leader in the scholarly research on Chinese religious life, most notably as a long-time book-review editor (2002–14) and then editor (since 2015) of the Journal of Chinese Religions, the flagship journal of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions (SSCR). During his stay as a Beaufort Visiting Fellow at St John’s College during Michaelmas and Lent terms this academic year Professor Clart was working on completing a new book entitled The Continuing Adventures of Han Xiangzi: Folk Literature and Religion in China (17th–20th c.). Professor Clart has been doing research on and in Taiwan for almost thirty years, starting with his doctoral research on spirit-writing cults in Taiwan. More recently he has been researching on religious museums in Taiwan.

The annual Chuan Lyu Lectures in Taiwan Studies is generously funded by the Chuan Lyu Foundation.

The Chuan Lyu Foundation has been supporting an Annual Lecture Series in Taiwan Studies at Cambridge for over three decades. We are very grateful to the Foundation and its founder, Dr Lee Hwa-lin, for initiating the series and for its continuous support. Over the years, the lectures have attracted a very distinguished list of speakers. The Chuan Lyu lectures are held annually in May.

  • 1991 Professor Stefan Feuchtwang (LSE)
  • 1992 Professor Helen Siu (Yale University)
  • 1993 Professor Charles Stafford (LSE)
  • 1994 Professor TU Wei-ming (Harvard University)
  • 1995 Professor Leo Ou-fan Lee (Harvard University)
  • 1996 Professor SHIBA Yoshinobu (Osaka University)
  • 1998 Dr David Landsborough IV
  • 2000 Professor LIU Ts'ui-jung (National Taiwan University)
  • 2001 Dr LEE Yuan-Tseh (Academia Sinica)
  • 2002 Professor TU Cheng-sheng (Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica)
  • 2003 Professor CHEN Jo-shui (National Taiwan University)
  • 2004 Professor Steve Tsang (University of Oxford)
  • 2005 Dr TSAI Ing-wen
  • 2006 Lord Patten of Barnes (University of Oxford)
  • 2007 Professor LUNG Ying-tai (National Tsing Hua University)
  • 2008 Dr Margaret Hillenbrand (University of Oxford)
  • 2009 Professor CHOU Wan-yao (Academia Sinica)
  • 2010 Professor YEN Chuang-yin (Academia Sinica)
  • 2011 Professor LIAO Ping-hui (UC San Diego)
  • 2012 Professor Julia Huang (National Tsing Hua University)
  • 2013 Professor Chen Kuo-Tung (Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica)
  • 2014 Professor Leonard Blussé (Leiden University)
  • 2015 Dr LAI Chi-Wan
  • 2016 Dr WU Rwei-Ren (Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica)
  • 2017 Professor CHANG Hsun (Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica)
  • 2018 Professor Joseph Allen (University of Minnesota)
  • 2019 Professor Paul R. Katz (Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica)
  • 2020 Not held due to COVID pandemic
  • 2021 Not held due to COVID pandemic
  • 2022 Professor Philip Clart (University of Leipzig)