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RELIGST 56: Exploring Chinese Religions

An overview of major themes and historical developments in 5000 years of Chinese religion from early evidence of religious belief in Neolithic burial sites to religion in China today. In this course, we will try as much as possible to appreciate Chinese religion from the Chinese perspective, paying particular attention to original texts in translation in an attempt to discern the logic of Chinese religion and the role it has played in the course of Chinese history. To a greater extent perhaps than any other civilization, the Chinese have left behind a continuous body of written documents and other artifacts relating to religion stretching over thousands of years, providing a wealth of material for studying the place of religion in history and society. We will cover a range of traditions, from Buddhism and Daoism to Falun Gong, practices such as divination, fengshui and ancestor worship, and historical events from the formation of the first Chinese empire to the fall of the Qing dynasty and the Cultural Revolution. Each class will include a short lecture and discussion. Together we will read a variety of philosophical, literary, and historical pieces in translation, supplemented by ethnographic videos, archaeology and maps.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
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