The Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Dynamics in the History of Religions" (KHK) and the Erlangen-based International Consortium for Research in the Humanities "Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication" recently collaborated on an academic tour to China. From 6 to 18 October 2013 a joint delegation of scholars visited several research institutions and archaeological sites in the People's Republic of China. This excursion was quite successful in enhancing the cooperation between the two Käte Hamburger Collegia and improving the international visibility of both institutions.
The selection of sites visited reflects the research agendas of the two collegia. Due to the efforts of Professor Iwo Amelung, the delegates had the pleasure and honour of being guided on the remnant traces of the mantic culture of the Shang era (2nd millenium BC) by Professor Su Rongyu of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The delegation in Anyang. On the left: Prof. Su Rongyu (CASS), center: Prof. Lackner (IKGF), and Prof. Krech (KHK).
The expansion of religions on Chinese territory was another major topic of the excursion, especially the development of Buddhism and Nestorianism. Under the knowledgeable guidance of Prof. Luo Zhao (CASS) the delegates inspected the Longmen Grottoes with its manifold examples of sinified Buddhist art, and also traced the history of Nestorianism at Luoyang Museum (Henan province) and the SUBURBS of Beijing (Fangshan).
The German delegates with Prof. Luo Zhao (centre) in front of the Longmen Grottoes.
The delegates presented their institutions via several talks at three major Chinese academic institutions: Shandong University (Jinan), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Beijing), and Renmin University (Beijing).
At Shandong University's Center for the Study of Judaism and Interreligious Exchange two KHK scholars gave papers. Prof. Alexandra Cuffel talked about "Jewish Studies as Part of Comparative Religious Studies in a Global Context at the Center for Religious Studies in Bochum" and Dr. Marion Steinicke elaborated on "Maliya: The Role of Pictures of the Virgin Mary for the Jesuit Mission in China".
Three papers on "manticism" were given by three delegates in a meeting at the Institute for Zhouyi Studies, also Shandong University: gehalten:
- Prof. Michael Lackner (IKGF): "xiao dao you li – Research Perspectives of the IKGF Erlangen"
- Prof. Joachim Gentz (IKGF): "The Zhouyi and the Decline of Divination in China"
- Dr. Licia Di Giacinto (KHK): "The Concept of Time under the Han between Calendar and Prophecy: The Case of the Chenwei"
Prof. Volkhard Krech and Prof. Marion Eggert both gave papers exemplary for the research conducted at the KHK at the Institute for World Religions, the religious studies department of the renowned Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Prof. Krech talked about "Differentiation of Religion and Processes of Sacralization in a Historical and Globalizing Perspective" and Prof. Eggert's lecture dealt with "Reactions of Korean Literati to Western Learning and Catholic Mission".
Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech while presenting at CASS.
The final event in the academic schedule was an open debate at the Renmin University's Institute for Advanced Study of Religion. The research programme of KHK was inroduced by Prof. Krech and Prof. Carmen Meinert, while Dr. Esther-Maria Guggenmos and Dr. Michael Lüdke did the same for the IKGF.
In order to build a foundation for future collaboration the KHK signed memoranda of understanding with the following institutions:
- The Center for the Study of Judaism and Interreligious Exchange, Shandong University, Jinan;
- The Institute of World Religions, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing;
- Renmin University, Beijing:
- The Institute for Advanced Study of Religions,
- The Institute for Historical and Philological Studies of China's Western Regions.
These agreements lay the foundation for a fruitful future cooperation between religious studies scholars in Bochum and China.
Photo taken at The Center for the Study of Judaism and Interreligious Exchange. Center: Prof. Fu Youde (Shandong University), Prof. Lackner (IKGF), Prof. Krech (KHK).
The delegates at CASS. Center: Prof. Zhou Qi (CASS), Prof. Lackner (IKGF), Prof. Krech (KHK).
The delegates with members of The Institute for Historical and Philological Studies of China's Western Regions. Center: Prof. Meinert (CERES), Prof. Dr. Shen Weirong (Renmin University), Prof. Krech (KHK).
Here with members of the Institute for Advanced Study of Religion. Center: Prof. Krech, Prof. Dr. Yang Huilin (Renmin University).
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All pictures copyright of Roman de Giuli, 2013.