AAR 2020: Chinese Christianities Unit – Call for Papers

American Academy of Religion, 2020 Meeting
Chinese Christianities Unit
Deadline for proposals: 2 March 2020

Half a century ago, John Fairbank offered an “Assignment for the ‘70s,” arguing for scholars to take into consideration the encounter between American missionaries and Chinese Christians. Mindful of the growth in the academic field of Chinese Christianities, especially the rapid production of new studies in the last decade, this inaugural year of the Chinese Christianities Unit offers us a new challenge—an “Assignment for the 2020s,” which suggests the need to slow down and reconsider the field of Chinese Christianities, from multiple disciplinary, confessional, and regional perspectives. We welcome papers in the following or related areas:

Disciplinary perspectives

  • How do the changing relationships between Christianity and the Chinese state affect studies of mainland Chinese Christianities? How do increased restrictions on historical archives and access to lived religious communities change the nature of historical and social scientific studies?
  • What theological distinctives can be found amongst Chinese Christianities? What theological misconceptions have arisen due to the orientalization of Chinese Christianities?
  • Based on prior “first order” microstudies of global Chinese Christianities, what “second order” theorizations can be made about Chinese Christianities?

Confessional perspectives

  • While Chinese Protestants are often described as “post-denominational” (in mainland China) or “independent” (in North America and in the UK), in what ways are these confessional labels irrelevant or limiting?
  • What has caused the field of Chinese Christianities to be over-preoccupied with forms of Protestantism as opposed to other major branches of Christianity?
  • What divergences and convergences can be found between Chinese Protestants versus Chinese Catholics and Chinese Orthodox? What about when compared to “fringe” or “heterodox” groups?

Regional perspectives

  • In what ways do Chinese Christianities differ when comparing expressions across various parts of “Greater China”—mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan?
  • How have different waves of migration shaped global forms of Chinese Christianities?
  • How do transregional and transnational networks (e.g. Lausanne, CCOWE, FABC) offer bridges and barriers to understanding Chinese Christianities?
  • How do global Chinese Christianities problematize Western public-private dichotomies?

To submit a proposal for this call, please go to the AAR website.

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