Religion and Media in China: Insights and Case Studies from the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Religion and Media in China

Insights and Case Studies from the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, 1st Edition

Edited by Stefania Travagnin


304 pages

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This volume focuses on the intersection of religion and media in China, bringing interdisciplinary approaches to bear on the role of religion in the lives of individuals and greater shifts within Chinese society in an increasingly media-saturated environment. With case studies focusing on Mainland China (including Tibet), Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as diasporic Chinese communities outside Asia, contributors consider topics including the historical and ideological roots of media representations of religion, expressions of religious faith online and in social media, state intervention (through both censorship and propaganda), religious institutions’ and communities’ use of various forms of media, and the role of the media in relations between online/offline and local/diaspora communities. Chapters engage with the major religious traditions practiced in contemporary China, namely Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, and new religious movements.

Religion and the Media in China serves as a critical survey of case studies and suggests theoretical and methodological tools for a thorough and systematic study of religion in modern China. Contributors to the volume include historians of religion, sinologists, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, and media and communication scholars. The critical theories that contributors develop around key concepts in religion—such as authority, community, church, ethics, pilgrimage, ritual, text, and practice—contribute to advancing the emerging field of religion and media studies.


"Thanks to the diverse academic backgrounds of its contributors, this volume presents insightful comparison on how the interplays of media and religion are viewed, interpreted, and understood through the lens of different academic disciplines. (…) This volume also offers a comparative perspective for its readers to make sense of how the intersection of religion and media has been shaped differently in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese communities. Such a comparative perspective is particularly useful for readers who are interested in how the intersection of religion and media is shaped in communities that are similar in cultural origins but have gone through different social and political processes." - Yu Tao, University of Western Australia

Table of Contents

Introduction: Religion and Media in China: Volume Objectives, Challenges and Themes Stefania Travagnin 


PART ONE: Media Translations of Religion in China: History, Concepts and Methods

1 Beyond the Conceptual Framework of Oppression and Resistance: Creativity, Religion and the Internet in China Samuel Lengen

2 Regarding the Interplay of Popular Media and Religion in Hong Kong Yam Chi-Keung

3 Charting Religion and Media in Taiwan: Media Expressions of Faith as (Pluri)Identity Markers in the Democratization Era Stefania Travagnin


PART TWO: Religious Media and Religion in Secular Media: Case studies from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

4 Eminence and Edutainment: Xingyun and Daoxin as Television Celebrities Scott Pacey

5 From Woman Warrior to Good Wife: Confucian Influences on the Portrayal of Women in China’s Television Drama Manya Koetse

6 WeChat Together about the Buddha: the Construction of Sacred Space and Religious Community in Shanghai through Social media Weishan Huang

7 Engaging with a Post-totalitarian State: Buddhism Online in China André Laliberté

8 Buddhist Blogs in Mainland China and Taiwan: Discussing Buddhist Approaches to Technology Beverley Mcguire

9 Three High-Profile Protestant Microbloggers in Contemporary China: Expanding Public discourse or Burrowing into Religious Niches on Weibo? Carsten Vala and Huang Jianbo

10 Digital Islam across the Greater China: Connecting Virtual Ummah to the Chinese-Speaking Muslim Netizens Ho Wai-Yip

11 The Master Said, the Master Sold? Uses and Misuses of the Confucius Icon in Chinese Commercial Advertising Giovanna Puppin

12 Dharma in Motion Pictures: Buddhist Cartoons and Documentaries in Contemporary Taiwan Stefania Travagnin

13 The Curious Case of Discovering Noah’s Ark in Hong KongYam Chi-Keung

14 Beyond Living Buddhas, Snowy Mountains and Mighty Mastiffs: Imagining Tibetan Buddhism in Contemporary China’s Mediascape Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa

15 Huan-ting Zen: Crossing the Straits and Engendering Emotional Transformation through Digital Media Paul J. Farrelly

About the Editor

Stefania Travagnin is Rosalind Franklin Fellow and Assistant Professor of Religion in Asia at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Religion, Media and Culture

This series of Routledge monographs provides both new and established scholars the opportunity to publish original research in Religion, Media and Culture. The series includes a wide range of investigations of media in relation to religious practice and belief in any historical period or geographical domain. Media examined in this series include everyday objects such as statues, dolls, and photographs; visual media such as wood cuts, icons or illuminated manuscripts; and newer media such as radio, film, television, and Internet. Volumes go beyond focusing on how messages are delivered to passive audiences, and contribute to an evolving paradigm of understanding creative audiences for whom media are an integral part of lived religion. Studies draw on a variety of methods for their investigations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies