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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2021/2022

Religions and Society in China

Type: Elective course (Asian and African Studies)
Area of studies: Asian and African Studies
When: 2 year, 1 module
Mode of studies: distance learning
Open to: everyone
Instructors: Dmitry Khudyakov
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course provides an introduction to the study of the history, major teachings, and practices of the major Chinese religions and spiritual practices and is deigned to give conceptual tools to appreciate diverse religious practice in East. It covers the development of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and wide range of popular and local religions. From historical perspective we will also explore the development of key theological, religious and philosophical doctrines as well as associated practices. An effort will be made to spend time on each tradition according to its importance to Asia as a whole. We will explore the role of religions in politics and social relations in East and South, South East Asia and China in particular, and will analyze the origins, central teachings, divisions and branches, rituals and practices, influences on culture, and responses to modern challenges for each tradition. The emphasis throughout the course is on the hermeneutic difficulties’ attendant upon the study of religion in general, and Asian religions in particular. We will explore new Asian religions as dynamic, ongoing forces in the lives of individuals and in the collective experience of modern societies. Discipline is aimed at the 3rd year bachelor students in the 1st module. This course provides an introduction to the study of the history, major teachings, and practices of the major Chinese religions and spiritual practices and is deigned to give conceptual tools to appreciate diverse religious practice in East. It covers the development of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and wide range of popular and local religions. From historical perspective we will also explore the development of key theological, religious and philosophical doctrines as well as associated practices. An effort will be made to spend time on each tradition according to its importance to Asia as a whole.The learning format includes the online-course at the base of Coursera platform (URL:https://www.coursera.org/learn/religions-society-china?=)
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To explore the role of religions in politics and social relations in East and South, South East Asia and China in particular
  • To analyze the origins, central teachings, divisions and branches, rituals and practices, influences on culture, and responses to modern challenges for each tradition
  • To explore new Asian religions as dynamic, ongoing forces in the lives of individuals and in the collective experience of modern societies
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Seizes the basics of what is religion in China
  • Explains how the Chinese perceive the very concept of religion and how this perception and this concept should not be confused with the corresponding Western concepts
  • Explains the specifics of Taoism
  • Explains links the history of Taoism and identifies its sources
  • Explains of the main ways of the emergence of Taoism
  • Identifies the developmental paths taken by Taoist cults in their history
  • Explains the ways that link Taoist philosophy and the social practice of religious cults and organisations.
  • Explains the basic idea and principles of Confucianism
  • Seizes the path of development of Confucianism
  • Explains the difference between what Confucianism is in its particular set of features and what is understood in the West as religion or philosophy
  • Seizes the basic concepts of Buddhism and explaining of its principles
  • Explains the main features of religions in China
  • Seizes the main problems of the coexistence of religions in China
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction
    Familiarization with the structure of the course.
  • Module 1: Foundations of Religions in China
    Main Notions of Chinese Religions, Religions and Ancestors, Teacher in the Chinese Religious Tradition, Syncretism of Tradition
  • Module 2: Taoism in China
    Sources of Taoism Before Taoism: Five Elements and Five Phases Before Taoism: Early Cults, Lao-zi and the Beginning of Taoism, Taoism and the Natural Order of Universe, Notion of Dao
  • Module 3: Taoism in Chinese society: main religious practices
    Taoism and the Idea of Immortality, Alchemy in Taoism, Taoist Practices: Mind and Body,Main Cults of Taoism, Main Schools in Taoism, Modern Schools of Taoism
  • Module 4: Confucianism in Chinese society: from sacrality to morality
    Confucianism: Introduction, Main Ideas, Main Principles, Confucius and Confucianism, Sage Confucius: Ideas, Beliefs and Moral, Followers of Confucius, Confucian Canon
  • Module 5: Buddhism in the Chinese Tradition
    Buddhism in China: Introduction, Basic Principles of Buddhism, Buddha and Buddhahood, The Way from India to China, Fundamental division: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Transition to China: Ways and Problems, Transition to China: Missionaries and Translators, "Sinicization" of Buddhism
  • Module 6: Modern China and its attitude to religions
    People's Republic of China: Religious Policy, Buddhism and Taoism in Modern China, Traditions of the Minorities Islam in China, Christianity in China, Western Religions in China, Popular Religions in Modern Chinese Culture
  • final lesson
    the last lesson of the course is devoted to assigning grades based on the results of passing the tests of the online course
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Module 1 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 2 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 3 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 4 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 5 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 6 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 7 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 8 Quiz (20 min)
  • non-blocking Module 9 Quiz (20 min)
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    0.11 * Module 1 Quiz (20 min) + 0.11 * Module 2 Quiz (20 min) + 0.11 * Module 3 Quiz (20 min) + 0.11 * Module 4 Quiz (20 min) + 0.11 * Module 5 Quiz (20 min) + 0.11 * Module 6 Quiz (20 min) + 0.11 * Module 7 Quiz (20 min) + 0.12 * Module 8 Quiz (20 min) + 0.11 * Module 9 Quiz (20 min)
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Katz, P. R., & Shahar, M. (2014). Religion in China and Its Modern Fate. Waltham, Massachusetts: Brandeis University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=761096
  • Rosker, J. S., & Suhadolnik, N. V. (2013). Modernisation of Chinese Culture : Continuity and Change. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=860091

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Религии Китая : хрестоматия, Ермаков, М. Е., Кравцова, М. Е., 2001
  • Религии современности. История и вера, Антес, П., Червонная, С., 2001