Local Religion in Late Imperial China (1550–1850)


Eugenio Menegon (Boston University)




18:15 Central European Summer Time


Zoom Meeting

The notion of “local religion” as a specific academic concept in English found one of its earliest and most articulate expressions in William Christian’s 1981 book Local Religion in Sixteenth Century Spain. Christian’s work drew on his own sociological and anthropological research in the Iberian countryside during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but his thinking was also nourished by his reading of European scholarship. He found that it was often in the countryside that traditional religious ideas and practices from the medieval and early modern periods survived the longest. In Christian’s wake, scholars have increasingly focused their attention on the social and ritual life of Christian communities across the globe. What was true for post-war Spain also applies to modern China. This talk offers an assessment of recent work on Christianity as a “local religion” in late imperial China (1550–1850).

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