2019 SSCR Annual Report

Dear friends and members of SSCR,

We are writing this end of year letter to tell you of the activities of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions during 2019. For more information on past and future activities, events, becoming a member or renewing your membership in SSCR please visit our revamped website at https://chinesereligions.org/.

First, we are delighted to report that the transition of the Journal of Chinese Religions to our new publisher Johns Hopkins University Press has been smooth and successful. You may have noticed the timely delivery of the recent issues (volume 47, issues 1 and 2) as well as the content being available promptly on the Muse website https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/41236.

We should thank the JCR editor Philip Clart and Justin Ritzinger, the book review editor, for their consistent efforts to produce such a high quality journal.

Although JCR content is available for free on the Muse site (for participating institutions), we strongly encourage you to continue supporting SSCR with membership fees, which we try to put to good use, as described below.

This year we helped support two international conferences on Chinese religions:

The first, just at the tail-end of 2018, was the conference “Daoism and Local Cults: Rethinking the Paradigms” sponsored by SSCR, École Pratique des Hautes Études, and the Institute of East Asian Studies (Leipzig University) held at the Bibliotheca Albertina in Leipzig, Germany (November 29-December 1, 2018). We look forward for future publications from this event.

SSCR teamed up with Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Chinese University of Hong Kong to sponsor the conference “Critical Terms for Chinese Religious Studies” that was held in Hong Kong (June 20-22, 2019). A follow up workshop will be held in August 2020 at the University of Virginia, aimed at helping transitioning the papers presented at the Hong Kong conference to a publication, for use in teaching, and for reaching out to the broader intellectual community.

SSCR has also continued to hold meeting in conjunction at the annual meeting of the AAS and the AAR:

In March 2019, during the AAS annual meeting in Denver, we held a First Book Roundtable in the Study of Chinese Religions, in which we celebrated five new books:

Megan Bryson, Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China.
Erik Hammerstrom
, The Science of Chinese Buddhism: Early Twentieth-Century Engagements

Melissa Wei-tsing Inouye, China and the True Jesus: Charisma and Organization in a Chinese. Christian Church.
Justin Ritizinger, Anarchy in the Pure Land: Reinventing the Cult of Maitreya in Modern Chinese Buddhism.

Li Yuhang, Becoming Guanyin Artistic Devotion of Buddhist Women in Late Imperial China.

Along with the authors we invited responders to comment on these groundbreaking books. It was a very successful event, and we hope to repeat it biennially.

For the forthcoming AAS meeting (March 19, Boston) we are planning another event that will highlight recent innovative work in the study of Chinese religions. Stay Tuned!
During the November 2019 AAR Annual meeting in San Diego, SSCR held two events. First, we sponsored an inaugural Breakfast for Women Scholars in the Study of Chinese Religions. This event was a great success with the participation of 36 women, at various academic career stages, who shared their experiences and advice on careers as scholars of religion. We hope to hold similar events at future meetings as we continue to work towards gender parity and equality. For details, please visit the announcements on our website (https://www.chinesereligions.org/node/179). For more information on women in the study of Asian religions visit the Women in the Study of Asian Religions website.

We also held our by-now traditional annual Luncheon Roundtable of Emerging Voices in the Study of Chinese Religions, in which we invite newly or nearly minted Ph.D.’s to present their dissertation research. This year we had six presenters with fascinating projects, and we look forward to their publications and continued participation in our dynamic and expanding field. For details, see our website (https://chinesereligions.org/node/174)

Finally, we want to thank our friends, and especially our dues paying members, for your continued support and encouragement of our various events and activities, and we look forward to more fascinating conversations in the study of Chinese religions.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2020 and productive year of the Rat,

Gil Raz, Dartmouth College, President of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions

Anna Sun, Kenyon College, Vice President of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions