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Religion and the State: The PRC and Taiwan

A talk by Richard Madsen (UC San Diego)

Thursday, January 25, 2007
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The relationship between religion and the state in the People’s Republic of China is contentious whereas in Taiwan it is relatively harmonious. But the religion-state relationship in Taiwan and the PRC were not very different in the 1950s and the 1960s.

The evolution of religion-state relations in Taiwan involved not only the transformation of political structures but also the creative development of new forms of religious belief and practice among the middle classes. How did this evolution take place in Taiwan? Under what conditions could it take place in the PRC?

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Richard Madsen received an MA in Asian studies and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. He is currently Professor of Sociology and director of the Council on East Asian Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a codirector of a Ford Foundation project to help revive the academic discipline of sociology in China.

He is the author or coauthor of eleven books on Chinese culture, American culture, and international relations. He has also written scholarly articles on how to compare cultures and how to facilitate dialogue among them. His best known works on American culture are those written with Robert Bellah, William Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven Tipton: Habits of the Heart (UC Press, 1995) and The Good Society (Knopf, 1991). These books explore and criticize the culture of individualism and the institutions that sustain it. Habits of the Heart won the LA Times Book Award and was jury nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

His books on China include Chen Village under Mao and Deng (coauthored with Anita Chan and Jonathan Unger) (UC Press, 1992), Morality and Power in a Chinese Village (UC Press, 1984) [winner of the C. Wright Mills Award], Unofficial China (coedited with Perry Link and Paul Pickowicz) (Westview, 1989), China and the American Dream (UC Press, 1994), China’s Catholics: Tragedy and Hope in an Emerging Civil Society (UC Press, 1998), and Popular China: Unofficial Culture in a Globalizing Society, coedited with Perry Link and Paul Pickowicz (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).

Books on social theory include Meaning and Modernity, coedited with William Sullivan, Ann Swidler, Steven Tipton (UC Press, 2002) and The Many and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World (Princeton Univ. Press, 2003).

Richard Gunde
310 825-8683

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies

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