SOAS University of London

Centre of Buddhist Studies

The Discourse(s) of Modern Sichuan Buddhism: Interactive Networks and the Reconstruction of Local Religious and Cultural History (seminar)

Dr. Stefania Travagnin (Groningen)

Date: 1 February 2020Time: 10:00 AM

Finishes: 1 February 2020Time: 1:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Seminar

This event is free and open to all, but requires registration. To register, email


Sichuan is as an active centre of religious knowledge production, with networks that have later extended beyond the provincial borders; Sichuan is then not just a reception site of knowledge transmission from the more advanced coastal areas, and for this reason it deserves to be re-located from the periphery to the centre of the study of Chinese religions.

This seminar will focus on Han Buddhism in modern Sichuan. The first part of the seminar will examine three topics: the range of sources available for this research; the major patterns, networks, and discourses that form the texture of modern and contemporary Han Buddhism in Sichuan; cross-border interactions with other local histories, so to position Sichuan within the wider map of China.

The second part of this seminar will shift the attention to more methodological and conceptual concerns; we will discuss how to better classify and analyse modern and contemporary Buddhist history, the relevance and taxonomy of network-based methods, and the agency of ‘space’ as an analytical category. The study of Sichuanese Buddhist history will then become a research model applicable to other geographical areas.


Stefania Travagnin is the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia at the University of Groningen. Travagnin obtained a MA in Chinese Studies from Ca’ Foscari University (2000), and a PhD in the Study of Religions from SOAS (2009). Her research explores Buddhism and Chinese society from the late Qing up to the present time. Her publications include the edited volumes Religion and Media in China (Routledge 2016), Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions I: State of the Field and Disciplinary Approaches (with André Laliberté; De Gruyter 2019), Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions II: Intellectual History of Key Concepts (with Gregory Scott; De Gruyter 2020), Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice (with Paul R. Katz; De Gruyter 2019). She is directing, with Elena Valussi, the project ‘Mapping Religious Diversity in Modern Sichuan’ funded by the CCKF (2017-2020).

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies

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Sponsor: The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation