Expert in: China
My main research interests have to do with the history of religion in modern and contemporary China. I have worked mainly on popular groups, having conducted field research in China, Taiwan and North America. The development of the religious fact in China since the latter 19th century is extremely complex, and we cannot study popular religion without considering the aims of the Chinese government and the posture of institutionalized religions. Given the religious rebirth in China since the end of the Maoist era, even historical research on this subject is important from a contemporary point of view.
With colleagues from York University and UBC, I have also launched a new research program on contemporary intellectual life in China. The project explores the complex relations between the growing freedom of expression for intellectuals, the cultural search for an identity that will be both modern and Chinese, and the pressing need for Chinese political authorities to find a new ideological legitimacy. This program is now funded through an SSHRC Insight grant.