Religion and Literature–cfp

ACLA Panel: Religion and Literature in Modern China–Call for Papers

The past century has seen the violent repression and dramatic revival of religion (Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Islam, and Local cults) in Chinese society. The generation of the New Cultural Movement (1917-1927) thinkers such as Cai Yuanpei, Zhou Zuoren among others were aware of the power of faith, but regarded it as negative (unscientific and oppressive) and proposed to replace it with aesthetic education (Cai Yuanpei). During the revolutionary years, religion was categorized as “feudalist and superstitious,” and in some cases “the agent of imperialist invasion.” The new China viewed religion as “opium of the people” following Marx’s teaching, and applied tight restrictions on religion¬†until the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The post-Mao China, however, has witnessed the most dramatic revival of all religious beliefs. Besides the sociopolitical implications, the vicissitudes of religion also has critical cultural implications. However, such implications have not been sufficiently discussed in research. This panel aims to explore such cultural implications through surveying the intricate relationships between religion and literature in the whole 20th century. Papers on the influence of religion on literary development, the representation of religion in literature, the use of religion in literary creation, the use of literature for religious purposes, author studies, analysis of significant works, comparative studies of Chinese and non-Chinese literature are all welcome.

ACLA seminar link:

Tonglu Li <>

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