April 11, 2012
Mapping Religious Beliefs and Practices in Contemporary China
A recent national survey (2007) reveals the diversity and complexity of religious beliefs and practices in contemporary China. Dr. Rong He of the Institute of Sociology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences discussed the survey and highlighted some of its most interesting findings, including the relationship between formal and informal religious associations, patterns of multiple belonging, and practices associated with Chinese traditional religions and the five officially recognized religious communities (Buddhism, Daoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam). The survey demonstrates the difficulty of applying religious categories developed in the West to China.
Rong He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Berkley Center for the 2011-12 academic year, with research interests in the sociology of religion, economic sociology, and classical social theory. From 2008-09 Dr. He was a visiting scholar at Baylor University's Institute for the Study of Religion. She previously taught at the Institute of Sociology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as an associate professor in 2010 and 2007 after working as an assistant professor from 2005-07; she also was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Sociology from 2003-05. From 1996-2000 Dr. He was Lecturer at Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology. She is the author of three books (in Chinese), Economics and Sociology: Max Weber and The Basic of Social Sciences (2009), History of the Austro-Hungarian Empire(1867-1918): An Introduction to the Society and Culture of Central Europe (2002), and Man and His World: Stories of the History of Ideas (1999), as well as numerous journal articles and conference papers. She holds a PhD in Sociology from Peking University and a MA in History from Shaan’xi Normal University.