RelSec Update: Chinese University of Hong Kong

September 25, 2013

During the first phase of CHCI’s Mellon-funded collaborative project, Religion. Secularism, and Political Belonging (RelSec), the regional center for China (i.e., the Research Institute for the Humanities at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, led by Ping Chen Hsiung, Director of the Institute, organized regular lectures and workshops for a discussion of the framing questions of the project.

At this initial stage, two sets of questions are considered of crucial significance: (1) What may be some of the meaningful ways to understand Chinese belief systems, whether considered “religious” or “secular”? (2) What may be a productive approach to the historical formation of the Greater China, which includes the historical experiences of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, even those of the Chinese diaspora, for a useful deliberation of the question of “political belonging” during the modern development of nation-building?

To respond to the first question, the Institute invited Prof. Huang Ko-wu to speak on “Pneumatology and Intellectual Transformation in Early Modern China: Reconsideration of Science, Religion, and Superstition of Early Republican Chinese Intellectuals” on March 5, 2013. To address the second question, the Institute organized a workshop on “Maritime Frontiers, Colonial Experience, and Post-Colonial Development” as part of The International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) on June 26, 2013 in Macau. Following this, the Institute engaged Prof. Richard von Glahn to present a lecture on “Song Coin and Monetary Circulation in Maritime East Asia, 1200–1700” on June 28, 2013, for a deeper investigation on the monetary and economic factors which had both bought this region together and set societies apart over the centuries.

Additional seminars and conferences for phase 2 of the project (in July and September of 2013 and February of 2014), have been planned. Employment of staff and other activities have also been executed according to the proposal.