Special Issue "Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Fenggang Yang and the Publication Committee of EASSSR

Professor of Sociology and Director of Center on Religion and Chinese Society, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Chinese religion; immigrant religion; social science of religion theories and methods
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Francis Jae-ryong Song

Professor, Department of Sociology; Director, Institute for Religion and Civic Culture, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
E-Mail
Phone: 02-961-0466
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. SAKURAI Yoshihide

Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University, Kita 10 Nishi 7, Sapporo 060-0810 Japan
E-Mail
Phone: +81-11-706-4195

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This is a call for papers for the Inaugural Conference of the East Asian Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and we will select some papers addressing some of the issues to publish in the journal Religions.

East Asia is felt throughout the world. Whilst the region’s economic and political power has been a reason for both global integration and resistance in recent decades, its presence within the rest of the world has been forged over centuries of migration and the establishment and strengthening of diasporic communities. Such communities have helped to shape the societies and cultures of their host countries, of their home countries, and, through such interplay, of the diasporas themselves. To unify these constituent parts (host country, home country, diasporic community), and to represent both the expansion of East Asian influence around the world, and its reflexive relationship with the places in which it has taken root, Yang Fenggang’s concept of the “Global East” has been most helpful. The Global East encompasses not just the countries of East Asia—China, Korea and Japan—but these countries’ diasporic communities, and the transnational linkages that serve to connect and shape both country and community as well. Additionally, East Asia is also host to diasporic communities of its own, which adds another layer of connectivity and influence to the framing of the Global East.

The effects of the Global East are felt in many walks of life, but one of the most transformative has to be religion. The religious landscapes of China, Korea, and Japan (including but not limited to state-sponsored atheism, shamanism, Shintoism, resurgent Buddhism/Christianity) are replicated and challenged in their diasporic communities, which, over time, have been shaped by the religious traditions of Southeast Asia, Europe, North America, and beyond. For the diasporic communities located within East Asia, the reverse is also true. These linkages between home country and diasporic community, and between community and host country have led to the circulation and sharing of religion and religious idea(l)s, and to the sharpening or dilution of (anti-)religious sensibilities. Greater religious diversity is an invariable outcome of such processes, yet the extent to which such diversity leads to religious co-operation, competition or conflict within and between individuals, families, communities, organisations and territories still deserves much more research attention. Accordingly, there is a need for more focussed consideration of the topics of religiosity, secularity and pluralism in the Global East.

We are particularly interested in papers address one or more of the fellowing research questions:

  • How do the constituent parts of the Global East influence the strengthening, weakening or changing of religion and religiosity at different social scales (from the individual to the community and nation)?
  • How does secularity intersect with religiosity within the Global East, and how does each inflect the other?
  • How does the religious diversity associated with the Global East lead to greater (or lesser) inter-religious and religious-secular co-operation, competition or conflict?
  • How does an understanding of the Global East develop or challenge existing theoretical and empirical understandings of religiosity, secularity and pluralism?

Prof. Dr. Fenggang Yang and the Publication Committee of EASSSR
Prof. Dr. Francis Jae-ryong Song
Prof. Dr. SAKURAI Yoshihide
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Religiosity
  • Secularity
  • Pluralism
  • Global East
  • East Asia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Religious Belonging in the East Asian Context: An Exploration of Rhizomatic Belonging
Religions 2019, 10(3), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030182
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 7 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
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Abstract
This article explores the hermeneutical challenges to understand religious belonging and religious identity in the East Asian context. In East Asia, religious identities have not always been as exclusively delineated, as is the case in Western models of religious diversity, for example in [...] Read more.
This article explores the hermeneutical challenges to understand religious belonging and religious identity in the East Asian context. In East Asia, religious identities have not always been as exclusively delineated, as is the case in Western models of religious diversity, for example in the so-called World Religions paradigm. Various theoretical frameworks are discussed in religious studies, sociology and anthropology of religion in China and East Asia, to acquire a better understanding of religious belonging. It is observed that two hermeneutical frameworks are used by scholars to discuss religious diversity: a hermeneutics of multiple religions and a hermeneutics of religiosity. The former analyses “religious belonging” as a “belonging to religious traditions”. In the latter, “religious belonging” is understood as transcending particular religious traditions. It is argued that we need to take another look at the philosophical concept of “multiplicity” to understand religious diversity and religious belonging. We can use the Deleuzian concepts of “rhizome” and “assemblage” to describe religious belongings in East Asia specifically and also religion in general. A rhizomatic thinking about religion enables us to reimagine the concept of religious belonging as rhizomatic belonging, and also, as is argued by Haiyan Lee and Mayfair Yang, make it possible to subvert power structures inherent to religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
Open AccessArticle Geopolitics and Identity-Making in US Diasporic Chinese Churches
Religions 2019, 10(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010009
Received: 16 September 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 24 December 2018
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Abstract
Using ethnographic and interview data, my paper analyzes how geopolitical relationship manifest at the community level in Chinese America Responding to Lien Pei-Te’s call to meaningfully disaggregate among the commonly “lumped together Chinese Americans”, I draw upon the experiences of specific groups of [...] Read more.
Using ethnographic and interview data, my paper analyzes how geopolitical relationship manifest at the community level in Chinese America Responding to Lien Pei-Te’s call to meaningfully disaggregate among the commonly “lumped together Chinese Americans”, I draw upon the experiences of specific groups of Chinese immigrants to the US, post-1949 migrants to Taiwan, pre-1949 migrants to Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Chinese, in order to understand how boundary drawing occurs in their various communities but also consider how the act of being “lumped together” itself in the US context complicates identity formation. The year 1949 marks the communist victory in the PRC as well as the inaugural year of the Kuomingdang (KMT)-led Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan. Carved out of these historical events, the contemporary social relations among these groups persist after their migration to the US, but they manifest differently in various domains of practice, including religious ones. As political relationships among states reorganizes their social relations, the religious site offers what Carolyn Chen calls a “moral vocabulary” to articulate, contemplate, and, in some cases, justify these divides. Even within a Christian context, messages of inclusivity are not universal but redefined according to the political and social contexts. By not assigning a singular definition to Christian thought, my paper makes way for a theorization of an intersectional Christian identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
Open AccessArticle Locating Religion and Secularity in East Asia Through Global Processes: Early Modern Jesuit Religious Encounters
Religions 2018, 9(11), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110349
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
The central premise of this paper is that in order to understand the social construction of religion and secularity in East Asia today we need to take a long durée historical approach, which takes into account the colonial encounters between the Christian West [...] Read more.
The central premise of this paper is that in order to understand the social construction of religion and secularity in East Asia today we need to take a long durée historical approach, which takes into account the colonial encounters between the Christian West and East Asia during three different and distinct phases of globalization. While most of the recent scholarly work on the globalization of the categories of religion and secularity focuses on the second Western hegemonic phase of globalization, this essay focuses on the early modern phase of globalization before Western hegemony. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
Open AccessArticle Sacred Secularities: Ritual and Social Engagement in a Global Buddhist China
Religions 2018, 9(11), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110338
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
The Taiwanese order Fo Guang Shan is a major representative of renjian Buddhism. The order maintains a global network of over 200 temples and practice centers that spans over not only most of the Asian continent, but also includes Oceania, the Americas, Europe [...] Read more.
The Taiwanese order Fo Guang Shan is a major representative of renjian Buddhism. The order maintains a global network of over 200 temples and practice centers that spans over not only most of the Asian continent, but also includes Oceania, the Americas, Europe and Africa. This article examines how the order negotiates the modern secular/religious divide by considering the example of its flagship diaspora temple Hsi Lai Temple in L.A., California. Particular attention is given to two prevalent religious practices at the temple—ritual and social engagements—that are often associated with the ‘religious’ and the ‘secular’ respectively. Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, the article aims to assess the relationship between the two practices and discusses how they resonate with a new generation of highly educated, affluent Chinese migrants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
Open AccessArticle Thinking Theoretically about Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East
Religions 2018, 9(11), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110337
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
This paper addresses the religiosity, secularity and pluralism of the global East from a theoretical perspective. To do so it draws from work undertaken by the author within the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP), paying particular attention to the material on religion, [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the religiosity, secularity and pluralism of the global East from a theoretical perspective. To do so it draws from work undertaken by the author within the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP), paying particular attention to the material on religion, diversity and pluralism. The final section of the article demonstrates the rootedness of social scientific thinking in the European Enlightenment and the consequences of this heritage for the understanding of religion in other parts of the world including East Asia. There are no easy answers to the questions posed by the mismatch between theory and data; there are, however, pointers towards more constructive ways forward—ways which respond sensitively to the context under review, maintaining nonetheless a high degree of scientific rigour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
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Open AccessArticle A New Home for New Immigrants? A Case Study of the Role of Soka Gakkai in the Integration of Japanese and Mainland Chinese Immigrants in Hong Kong
Religions 2018, 9(11), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110336
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 29 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
In the discussion of migrant integration into local settings, most scholars agree on the positive linkages between religion and the construction of ethnic identity. However, beyond church and mosque, there appears to be a gap in the research of the roles played by [...] Read more.
In the discussion of migrant integration into local settings, most scholars agree on the positive linkages between religion and the construction of ethnic identity. However, beyond church and mosque, there appears to be a gap in the research of the roles played by other religions in the process of migrant integration. This paper attempts to fill this gap by studying the role of a new religion Soka Gakkai (SG) in the integration of Japanese and Mainland Chinese immigrants in Hong Kong. I argue that the social and spiritual support and the ideas of a “big family” and individual empowerment (i.e., empowering oneself to overcome challenges) are important resources for immigrants when starting a new life in Hong Kong. However, the controversial image of SG might also have negative effects on SG members’ effort at integration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
Open AccessArticle Expansion of Religious Pluralism in Korean Civil Society: A Case Study of Conscientious Objection in South Korea
Religions 2018, 9(11), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110326
Received: 15 September 2018 / Revised: 20 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 24 October 2018
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Abstract
This paper analyzes a socio-cultural adaptation of the concept of religious pluralism, focusing on the matter of conscientious objection in Korean pluralistic situation. The issue of conscientious objection in Korea has extended from a religious and philosophical field to a political, diplomatic, and [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes a socio-cultural adaptation of the concept of religious pluralism, focusing on the matter of conscientious objection in Korean pluralistic situation. The issue of conscientious objection in Korea has extended from a religious and philosophical field to a political, diplomatic, and international problem, being influenced heavily by IRFR and UNHRC. Regardless of their numerical marginality, its social implication is revealed more clearly in recent decisions of local or higher courts and triggers another significant public discourse on how Korean civil society should expand a concept of pluralism to integrate them. The paper concludes that the concept of pluralism advances into an operational principle to prop up the civil society of Korea beyond the narrow concept of religious pluralism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
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Open AccessArticle Shaping the Religiosity of Chinese University Students: Science Education and Political Indoctrination
Religions 2018, 9(10), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100309
Received: 10 September 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
Our study examined the respective relationships between two components of higher education in mainland China—science education and political indoctrination—and the religiosity of university students. Using a cross-sectional, representative sample of about 1700 college students in Beijing, we found first that students studying natural/applied [...] Read more.
Our study examined the respective relationships between two components of higher education in mainland China—science education and political indoctrination—and the religiosity of university students. Using a cross-sectional, representative sample of about 1700 college students in Beijing, we found first that students studying natural/applied sciences were less likely to perceive Protestantism, Catholicism, and Islam as plausible and less likely to have supernatural belief, relative to students in humanities/social sciences. In addition, the more students positively evaluated the political education courses—which indicates students’ acceptance of political indoctrination—the less likely they reported Protestantism and Catholicism as being plausible. Nevertheless, neither science education nor political indoctrination was associated with the perceived plausibility of Buddhism and Daoism or the worshipping behavior of students. We discuss the implications of these findings in light of the secularization debate and the research on education, religion, and state atheism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
Open AccessArticle Religion in the Global East: Challenges and Opportunities for the Social Scientific Study of Religion
Religions 2018, 9(10), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100305
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 30 September 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (962 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This essay is based on the Presidential Address at the East Asian Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Inaugural Conference on 3–5 July 2018 in Singapore. It discusses some aspects of the key concepts, some of the distinct characteristics of religion in [...] Read more.
This essay is based on the Presidential Address at the East Asian Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Inaugural Conference on 3–5 July 2018 in Singapore. It discusses some aspects of the key concepts, some of the distinct characteristics of religion in East Asia, and some implications for the social scientific study of religion in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
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Open AccessArticle Exegetical Resistance: The Bible and Protestant Critical Insiders in South Korea
Religions 2018, 9(10), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9100301
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 1 October 2018 / Accepted: 3 October 2018 / Published: 7 October 2018
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Abstract
South Korean Protestantism has attracted scholars for a number of reasons including its almost unrivaled numeric growth and vibrancy in East Asia. Recent observations, however, have also noticed its negative perceptions among the general public in Korea, including those who profess to be [...] Read more.
South Korean Protestantism has attracted scholars for a number of reasons including its almost unrivaled numeric growth and vibrancy in East Asia. Recent observations, however, have also noticed its negative perceptions among the general public in Korea, including those who profess to be Protestants. This study focuses on movements by Protestant “critical insiders,” namely, those who are committed to their Protestant faiths yet are highly critical of the ways in which the Protestant religion is taught, believed, and practiced in South Korea. Such emphasis on resistance fits well the scholarly agenda of cultural studies. The subjects of observation in this study, however, can take the cultural studies orthodoxy and flip it on its head. In cultural studies, it has been asserted that unintended-creative readings of cultural—and religious—texts on the part of the readers indicate their resistive agency rather than subjugation. Korean Protestant critical insiders’ various activities pertaining to the Bible, however, entail reversing such observations about interpreting cultural texts and empowerment. Instead of turning the signs upside down, as typically celebrated in cultural studies, what they aspire to do is follow more radically the intended meanings/readings of the text. Rescuing the text, so to speak, is paramount for religiously loyal resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
Open AccessArticle The Gendered Space of the “Oriental Vatican”—Zi-ka-wei, the French Jesuits and the Evolution of Papal Diplomacy
Religions 2018, 9(9), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090278
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
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Abstract
In a global context, the story of the Jesuit compound in Shanghai, since its establishment by French Jesuits in 1847, reflected not only conflicts between rival powers in Europe but also the fight for their interests in the Eastern world. The female Catholic [...] Read more.
In a global context, the story of the Jesuit compound in Shanghai, since its establishment by French Jesuits in 1847, reflected not only conflicts between rival powers in Europe but also the fight for their interests in the Eastern world. The female Catholic orders at the east bank of Zi-ka-wei compound provided a unique window approaching the complexity. The Pope, who was stuck without legal status in the Vatican after 1861, was also seeking the chance to save the authority of the Church in the face of questions regarding the extent of his temporal power and the status of Rome in the context of Italian unification. As in the Reformation, a break-through in the east seemed to offer a solution for losses in Europe. However, the Jesuits to the East in the late 19th century were not only troops working and fighting on behalf of the Pope; their identities under the French Protectorate added complexity to an already complicated story involving not just the Church, but the course of world history. Locating the Jesuit-affiliated women and children hospice in the French Concession but outside the Zi-ka-wei compound was a result of how different conflicts played themselves out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religiosity, Secularity and Pluralism in the Global East)
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