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March 28, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright March 28, 2009. Used by permission.


From Paul Katz (3/28/09, 2:27 p.m.):

Saturday morning was a disaster, or at least full of fascinating panels about disaster and resulting relief efforts. Panel #139, alluded to by Kate Edgerton-Tarpley in her earlier post, explored the sociocultural impacts of the Great Leap Famine. Relevant research has also been done by Steve A. Smith in his “Talking Toads and Chinless Ghosts” article, published in The American Historical Review in 2006, and he has also written on this topic for the China Beat. There was also Panel #167, organized largely by a group of German scholars, which builds on the pioneering work of scholars like Kate, Pierre Etienne-Will, Fuma Susumu 夫馬進, Joanna Handlin-Smith (whose book is at last out!), and Angela Leung (梁其姿) in examining philanthropic responses to natural disasters. It would also be interesting to learn more about the extent to which such activities were inspired by religious beliefs, not to mention organized by religious associations.

In addition to disasters, there was also extensive border crossing, this time in the world of art. This could be seen in two panels (#126 and #149) that focused on the international dimensions of Asian art, including its links to cultural nationalism.

Finally, a word about the book exhibit: One cannot help but be amazed at the number of high-quality studies of Chinese religions now being published by Harvard University Press, including works by Vincent Goossaert, C. Julia Huang, David Johnson, Liu Xun, Rebecca Nedostup, James Robson, and Jeffrey Snyder-Reinke. HUP is clearly joining the ranks of other prestigious presses that continue to contribute to the growth of this field, including California, Leiden, Hawaii, and Stanford.