Hell, Politics, and Religion

Hell, Politics, and Religion

Some forthcoming talks are helping me think through a new book, which I want to start writing in 2023 once Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future is out in September 2023 (more on that in a post coming soon).

One of the talks is at the Asia Society on March 1 and has to do with concepts of hell and the afterlife in China–especially how this played out after the Communist Party tried to destroy most values. Details here.

The second, and more relevant talk to my new book is on the idea of Civil Religion in China. I took a stab at this in early 2023 at a talk at Fordham University and will do so in a more systematic way in March at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, aka Germany’s Institute for Advanced Studies.

I’ll be on a podium with Franciscus Verellen, a distinguished historian of religious life in middle-period China (and along with Kristofer Schipper the editor of one of the great recent works of sinological study, The Taoist Canon, which is a magically written and illustrated two-volume companion to the canon, which is essentially an encyclopedia of Taoist thought).

Prof. Verellen will talk about state and religion in classical China and I’ll talk about the concept in the country today, especially as the Communist Party uses it to cement legitimacy.

You can see details of both talks on this site’s “Talks and Media Appearances” page. The German talk will be in German. Both will be posted to YouTube, and I think the German talk will have subtitles.

If you get a chance to hear these and have feedback, please do send me an email at ij@ian-johnson.com I’d appreciate any feedback.


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