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Religions and Society in China

Higher School of Economics via Coursera

Found in Religion
  • Provider Coursera
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Start Date
  • Duration 9 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

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Overview

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This course provides an introduction to the study of the history, major teachings, and practices of the major Chinese religions and spiritual practices and is deigned to give conceptual tools to appreciate diverse religious practice in East. It covers the development of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and wide range of popular and local religions. From historical perspective we will also explore the development of key theological, religious and philosophical doctrines as well as associated practices. An effort will be made to spend time on each tradition according to its importance to Asia as a whole.

We will explore the role of religions in politics and social relations in East and South, South East Asia and China in particular, and will analyze the origins, central teachings, divisions and branches, rituals and practices, influences on culture, and responses to modern challenges for each tradition.

The emphasis throughout the course is on the hermeneutic difficulties attendant upon the study of religion in general, and Asian religions in particular. We will explore new Asian religions as dynamic, ongoing forces in the lives of individuals and in the collective experience of modern societies.

Syllabus

Foundations of Religions in China
-This module's content lays the foundations of understanding what is religion in China, how the Chinese perceive the very notion of religion and how this perception and this notion must not be confused with the correspondent Western notions and pereptions.

Taosim in China
-This module's content describes what is Taoism, relates its history and defines its sources, shows the main paths of genesis for the Taoist cults.

Taoism in Chinese society: main religious practises
-This module's content describes the paths of development, which were taken by Taoist cults in their history, explains the ways that connected Taoist philosophy and social practice of religious cults and organisations.

Confucianism in Chinese society: from sacrality to morality
-This module's content describes the main ideas and principles of Confucianism, outlines the paths of its developments, explains the difference between what is Confucianism in its particular totality of traits and what is understood as a religion or a philosophy in the West.

Buddhism in the Chinese Tradition
-This module's content describes the basic notions of Buddhism and explains its principles. The module gives an outline of the process of Buddhism's transition to China.

Sinified Buddhism as an almost independent tradition
-This module's content outlines the main texts and doctrines of Chan Buddhism, enumerates the main schools and branches, explains the influence that Buddhism had and has on Chinese life and art.

Chinese Mythology
-This module's content is dedicated to Chinese Mythos. This Module explains how the very notion of a mythical hero in China differs greatly from the correspondent Western notion.

Chinese folk religions: ancestor worship, temples, festivals and communal identities
-This module's content describes the characteristic traits of Chinese sects and popular cults. This module introduces one of the most important notions in Chinese religious studies: Chinese synctretism.

Modern China and its attitude to religions
-This module's content is dedicated to describing the religious life in modern China, the main attitudes of officials to religion in PRC and in other places, where Chinese culture is widely spread.

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