The Reception and Impact of Theology, Religion, and Philosophy in East Asia


The Reception and Impact of Theology, Religion, and Philosophy in East Asia

March 18, 2016 / 9:00 am - 11:45 am / Add to Google
3335 Dwinelle

Translating Religion and Theology in Europe and Asia is a two-part workshop series that explores the genealogy of the terms “religion” and “theology” in Europe and East Asia. The 2016 workshop, West to East, is primarily concerned with cultural flows from west to east, considering the translation and appropriation of the terms religion and theology in East Asia, and the significance of these categories on politics, society, and intellectual life. The two-day session on “The Reception and Impact of ‘Theology,’ ‘Religion,’ and ‘Philosophy’ in East Asia” is concerned with how these terms, alongside conceptions of national character, universal science, and a secular state, played a crucial part in state formation in Japan and China beginning in the nineteenth century.

In 2017, the convening East to West looks west to examine the impact in Europe and America of East Asian categories and ideas on the understanding of the terms religion and theology. By examining the translingual practice around the terms religion and theology, we hope to understand how these categories changed over time and across cultures, and in doing so address the location of East Asian traditions in the humanities and in society more broadly.

The word “religion” has been applied at times apologetically, often uneasily, and arguably hegemonically to East Asian traditions. Scholars and politicians have never quite agreed on basic questions such as whether Confucianism is a religion or a philosophy, and whether monotheistic or theological traditions existed in premodern East Asia. Behind these disagreements lie a host of political and cultural issues, broader historical processes like colonialism and secularization, and unexamined differences in the way “religion” is defined by different participants in the conversation.

Mark Csikszentmihalyi, UC Berkeley
Thomas David DuBois, Australian National University College of Asia and the Pacific
Vincent Goossaert, École Pratique des Hautes Études
Lionel Jensen, University of Notre Dame
Ya-pei Kuo, University of Groningen
Xin Liu, UC Berkeley
Trent E. Maxey, Amherst College
Rebecca Nedostup, Brown University
Michael Nylan, UC Berkeley
Peter Park, University of Texas at Dallas
Stacey Van Vleet, UC Berkeley

Translating Religion commences with a keynote by Vincent Goossaert on Wednesday, March 16 from 5-7 pm on “Bureaucracy and Salvation: Chinese Ways to Divinization,” at 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley. Translating Religion is a project of the Public Theology Program, a critical research initiative of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion. Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the initiative is dedicated to charting new directions for the study of religion in the public university.