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Francesca Tarocco on Modernizing the Dharma: Shanghai and Buddhism in the Interwar Period
Saturday 25 February 2012 16:00
T8 Club Lounge - Shanghai







Saturday 25th February, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.

T8 Club Lounge

No.8 Xintiandi North Part Lane 181 Taicang Road Shanghai

  Address in Chinese: 太仓路181,新天地广场北里8,T8餐厅





Modernizing the Dharma: Shanghai and Buddhism in the Interwar Period


Taixu and others


During the interwar period, many Buddhist activists participated in the creation of Shanghai cultural modernity. The visual artist, composer and monk Hongyi and the popular painter and cartoonist Feng Zikai, whose legacies are still visible in today’s city, were at the center of a vast collective project that sought to create new ways of appropriating and representing the Chinese Buddhist heritage. The ever expanding city and its wealthy entrepreneurs, including one of Shanghai’s richest families, that of the Baghdad-born Silas Hardoon and his wife Luo Jialing, used some of their capital to fund a myriad Buddhist-inspired endeavors, including the erection of large monastic complexes, publishing a new edition of the Buddhist canon of scriptures and the creation of a Buddhist radio station, one of the first in the world. This talk will look at how women and men who identify themselves as Buddhists engaged in novel modes of cultural and identity production. While partaking of the creative energies of the modern city, they also sought inspiration in older ideas on the accumulation of religious merit and in time-honored Chinese Buddhist technologies of salvation.



Francesca Tarocco is the co-director of the NYU Institute for Shanghai Studies. She is the author of The Cultural Practices of Modern Chinese Buddhism: Attuning the Dharma (Routledge, 2007) and has co-authored two books: Karaoke: The Global Phenomenon (Chicago University Press, 2007) and Made in China (Mondadori, 2008). She has published more than twenty articles and encyclopedia entries on Chinese Buddhism, Shanghai intellectual history and media and religion in China and East Asia. Her current book project is entitled The Re-enchantment of Modernity: Photography and Buddhist History in China and focuses on the twentieth-century Shanghai religious world and its interactions with a new urban audience through such channels as illustrated books and journals, portraiture, and the mass media.


Entrance: RMB 30.00 (RAS members) and RMB 80.00 (non-members) those unable to make the donation but wishing to attend may contact us for exemption, prior to the RAS Lecture. Membership applications and membership renewals will be available at these events.


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T8 Club Lounge
No.8 Xintiandi North Part, Lane 181 Taicang Road


Address in Chinese: 太仓路181弄,新天地广场北里8号,T8餐厅