EA presents: Gareth Fisher
225B Eggers Hall
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In recent years, Buddhism has experienced a significant revival in mainland China. In the outer courtyard of the Temple of Universal Rescue (Guangji Si) in Beijing, many new converts to lay Buddhism gather to ground Buddhist teachings in everyday social and political matters of interest to them. To the extent that they comment on questions of general public interest, the lay Buddhists who gather at the temple have created a form of civil society. Yet the potential of this emerging civil society is limited. By drawing on a long-term micro-ethnography of this temple space, this presentation will revisit the question of civil society’s potentials and limitations in China today. Gareth Fisher is assistant professor in the Department of Religion. He received his Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Virginia. His research focuses on the revival of lay Buddhism in contemporary China. His article “The Spiritual Land Rush: Merit and Morality in New Chinese Buddhist Temple Construction” has recently appeared in The Journal of Asian Studies (1, 2008).
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