Social Scientific Study of Chinese Religions

chinaThe Chinese Spirituality and Society Program at Purdue University is offering 500,000 dollars in grants to researchers who want to study the role of religion in China. According to recent reports, religion is exploding in the once-atheist country (Field Notes, October 13, 2009), where there are now five state-approved faiths: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. As sociologist Fenggang Yang, who developed the new program, explains:

The transition toward a market economy, industrialization, urbanization, and globalization are leading to religious changes in China. On the other hand, the religious changes are having profound impacts on Chinese culture, economy, politics, and international relations. The goal is for the program to generate new findings about religion in China so people around the world can better understand how religion affects individuals, families, communities, businesses, and civil society in the country with the world’s largest population.

The program plans to award two or three large grants to research centers and about 10 smaller grants to individual projects. The first application deadline is December 15.

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