Religion and Globalization in Asia: Prospects, Patterns, and Problems for the Coming Decade

Religion and Globalization in Asia: Prospects, Patterns, and Problems for the Coming Decade

Presented by The Kiriyama Chair for Pacific Rim Studies at the USF Center for the Pacific Rim.
University of San Francisco, California, McLaren Complex, Room 250
San Francisco
United States
From - Until
13.03.2009 - 14.03.2009
Nelson, John

Few scholars or policy makers twenty years ago could have imagined that the first decades of the 21st century would be a time of explosive and wide-spread religiosity. As modernity progressed and societies became more secular and democratic, religion was supposed to loosen its hold on the ways men and women envisioned their place in the world. On the contrary, the dynamics of globalization—such as communication technologies, immigration and migration, capital flows, transnationalism, and identity politics—have contributed to social conditions in which religious belief and practice not only survive but prosper and proliferate.

A growing body of scholarship and reportage has documented this phenomenon in the western hemisphere, but are these patterns applicable to Asia as well? With an estimated 300 million religious adherents in China (home also to the world's fastest growing Christian population), the world's largest and most diverse concentration of Muslims in Indonesia, and the rise of a more assertive and nationalistic Hinduism among India's 1.3 billion people, the role of religion in globalizing processes in Asia requires sustained analysis and elucidation rather than a mention in passing.

The objective of this conference is to muster the intellectual resources and research of experts in a variety of fields to better understand the prospects, patterns, and problems of religion and globalization in Asian societies in the near future. As noted in the recent edited volume Religions/Globalizations, how can we better understand the dialectical tension of codependence and codeterminism between religion and globalization? With a focus on the populations of South and East Asia--densely concentrated, increasingly well-informed and technologically-sophisticated--the conference participants and its keynote speakers will reference and address the following questions and themes:

— How can religious pluralism and tolerance be promoted and practiced?
— What social, economic, and political scenarios contribute to peaceful religious proliferation in Asia?
— Can global trends and dynamics increase the range of choices for individuals to determine their own religious and cultural identities?

— Are there identifiable characteristics for situations where religion is (or could become) a strategic political resource in Asian nations?
— How can we better understanding the codependent and codeterminative dynamics and patterns of religion and globalization?
— Does religious conservatism always compromise the more positive characteristics of globalization that are egalitarian, diverse, hybrid, and cosmopolitan?

— Are there substantial differences in how we regard religious fundamentalism in Asia and in western nations, especially concerning the belligerent kind that resorts to violence?
— Does the globalizing character of religion impede human rights in Asia?
— Are there regional conflicts that, aided by globalizing forces and religious ideologies, might grow into large-scale wars?

Conference Structure
— Friday, the conference will start with a keynote lecture, then break for paper sessions. After lunch, a second paper session will follow, with a concluding lecture preceding a general reception.
— Saturday will start with paper sessions, then conclude with a final lecture before lunch and adjournment.

The end result of the conference will be a strategically edited volume that will appeal to courses in history, religious studies, political science, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. We will also develop a website that summarizes the conference proceedings, details the key contributors and their work, and provides links to organizations and institutions that promote the study of globalization.


Friday, March 13

8:45 Registration opens
Continental Breakfast

9:30 Welcome remarks, John Nelson, Conference Chair (University of San Francisco)
Barbara Bundy (Executive Director, USF Center for the Pacific Rim)

9:45 – 10:30 “Religious Ambivalence to Globalization in Asia”
Keynote address, Mark Juergensmeyer (UC Santa Barbara)

10:30 – 10:50 Discussion
(Note: Each presenter will have 40 minutes, divided into 25 minutes for the talk and the rest for discussion.)

11:00 – 11:40 “Political and Economic Possibilities for Religious Dialogue between China and India”
Eric Hanson (Santa Clara University)

11:45 – 12:25 “Spiritual Economies: Islam and Globalization in Contemporary Indonesia”
Daromir Rudnyckyj (University of British Columbia, Victoria)

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
2:45 – 1:30 “Happy Birthday Mazu: Empress of Heaven, Goddess of the Sea” [FILM]
Introduction by filmmaker Jonathan H.X. Lee (UC Santa Barbara)
(Please bring your lunch to this event)

1:40 – 2:20 “In Search of the Pure Land: Globalization and Buddhist Revival in Contemporary China”
Keping Wu (University of Hong Kong)

2:30 – 3:10 “Globalizing the Religious Market in China: How Incoming Foreign Religions Affect State
Religious Policy”
Noam Urbach (University of Haifa)

3:15 – 3:45 Break

3:45 – 4:30 “Buddhism and Globalization: The Rise of Early Asian Identity”
Keynote address, Nayan Chanda (Yale University)

4:30 – 4:50 Discussion

5:00 – 5:45 “Gender and Moral Visions in Indonesia”
Rachel Rinaldo (Kiriyama Fellow, USF Center for the Pacific Rim)

6:00 – 7:00 Reception
An international symposium presented by the USF Center for the Pacific Rim and Cosponsored with the USF Department of Theology & Religious Studies
Religion and Globalization in Asia:
Prospects, Patterns, and Problems for the 21st Century

Saturday, March 14

8:30 – 9:00 Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:45 “The World’s Third Spaces: Novel Assemblages of Territory, Authority, and Rights”
Keynote Address, Saskia Sassen (Columbia University)

9:45 – 10:05 Discussion

10:10 – 10:50 “Localizing Global Patterns in Islamic Communities in China”
Michael C. Brose (University of Wyoming)

10:55 – 11:35 “Globalization, Nationalism, and Korean Religion in the 21st Century”
Don Baker (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

11:40 – 12:20 “Asian New Religions and Global Soft Power”
Nancy Stalker (University of Texas, Austin)

12:20 – 12:30 Concluding Remarks, John Nelson, Conference Chair

Contact (announcement)

John Nelson
USF Center for the Pacific Rim
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton St.
San Francisco, Ca. 94720

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