Call for Papers: Christianity and Social Activism in Chinese Societies

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Dates: February 24-26, 2019 (arriving on 23rd and departing on 27th)

Place: Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA


The Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University invites papers that examine the relationship between Christianity and social activism in Chinese societies. We welcome both scholarly research papers of empirical or historical studies and personal reflection papers by Christian social activists.


Christianity is a minority religion in China, but one that has served as a catalyst for social change in China’s modernization. For instance, Christianity is closely associated with the introduction of modern education, modern medicine, modern press and media, modern charities and disaster relief, women’s liberation, and so on. Indeed, Christians have arguably played important roles in several major social movements, from the Taiping uprising to the Republican Revolution, and from the human rights and democratization movements in Taiwan to the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.


On the other hand, many of the social changes and social movements dramatically altered the social, cultural and political environment for Christianity. For example, following both the Boxer Uprising and the Cultural Revolution, Christianity experienced rapid growth for several decades.  Most strikingly, the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989 marked a watershed for the rapid increase in Chinese conversion to Christianity. Since then, in addition to rural residents, many urbanites and intellectuals have also turned to Christianity. Indeed, a large number of the 1989 democracy movement activists, in China or exiled, imprisoned or free, have become Christian. What are their conversion stories? What are their religious and social experiences before and after conversion? Has Christian conversion led to a change in their social and political views and activism?


The relationship between Christianity and social activism in Chinese societies has been under studied. To rectify this problem, at the onset of the year marking the 30th anniversary of the 1989 democracy movement, we plan to hold a conference on February 24-26, 2019. We invite social scientists, scholars in humanities, and theologians to present research papers on this theme. Meanwhile, we invite social movement activists to present papers reflecting on their own conversions, faith, and social activism.


Based on submitted abstracts, we will select 20 participants to make presentations. Hotel expenses of the presenters will be covered. A limited number of travel funds is available to subsidize transportation costs for those who apply.


Deadline to submit abstracts: September 30, 2018. The abstract should be between 500 and 1,000 words. Please include a brief c.v. and a note about whether or not applying for a travel subsidy and if so, how much. We will notify the selected participants of acceptance and travel funds by October 31, 2018.


Deadline to submit draft full paper: January 31, 2019. The paper should be no less than 5,000 words, with proper footnotes and referenced bibliography. We plan to publish a volume of the edited papers.


Please submit your abstract, c.v., a note about travel subsidy, and full paper to Lily Szeto



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