The souls of China


Tomorrow Ian Johnson begins an impressive tour into the new Heart of Darkness, as well as China, to Spread the Glad Tidings about his new book The souls of China. Do check out his website, including links to some great video clips.

The author astutely discusses a range of religious and spiritual practices in modern China, linking the present to the past, and the personal to the political. Our very own Li family Daoists play a considerable role (see here), besides pilgrimage groups and qigong cults around Beijing, and Christians in Chengdu—alternate chapters on each building up a fascinating picture of modern Chinese society. We meet a diverse supporting cast of mystics, outlaws, reformers, hustlers, peasants, and bigwigs.

While academic studies of religion in modern China have flourished recently (in both Chinese and Western languages), this book is well researched but reader-friendly, at once more humane and critical than some pious or detached treatments. Benefitting from the author’s long-term residency in China, it will make a valuable resource.

For vignettes from the book, click here; see also Documenting religion in China. Note also the surveys of religion in China by C.K. Yang, Adam Yuet Chau, and Stephan Feuchtwang.

11 thoughts on “The souls of China

  1. Pingback: The Li family Daoists: further material | Stephen Jones: a blog

  2. Pingback: Temple fairs: Miaofengshan and Houshan | Stephen Jones: a blog

  3. Pingback: Catholics of north China | Stephen Jones: a blog

  4. Pingback: Ritual life in south Hebei | Stephen Jones: a blog

  5. Pingback: More vignettes from The souls of China | Stephen Jones: a blog

  6. Pingback: Documenting religion in China | Stephen Jones: a blog

  7. Pingback: Notes from Beijing 1: some fine ethnographers | Stephen Jones: a blog

  8. Pingback: Women of Yanggao 2/3: sectarians and mediums | Stephen Jones: a blog

  9. Pingback: Chau on “doing religion” in China | Stephen Jones: a blog

  10. Pingback: Religion in Chinese society | Stephen Jones: a blog

  11. Pingback: A new handbook on religion in China | Stephen Jones: a blog

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