This book is based on anthropological fieldwork among the Bai, an ethnic minority with a population of two million in Dali, southwest China. It explores the religious and ethnic revival in the last two decades against a historical background. It explains why and how religions and ethnic identity are revived in contemporary China, with the revived analytical concept of "alterity", which suggests a world beyond here and now. The book focuses on the particular institutions and ritual technologies that seek for access to the invisible, transcendental other—both spatial and temporal. It covers a variety of topics, including pre-modern kingship, modern utopia, religious alterity, ethnic identity, religious associations, the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and temple restorations.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Chapter 1 Situating the Field, Chapter 2 Removing Religions in the 1950s and the early 1960s, Chapter 3 Introducing Ethnicity: The Promise of the Utopian Alterity, Chapter 4 Ethnicity Perpetuated: Nanzhao History between China and Thailand, Chapter 5 Religious Revival in Dali and Xizhou, Chapter 6 Culturalization of religion and ethnicity, Chapter 7 Temple lost, Temple Regained: The Sacred Public Space, Conclusion
Liang Yongjia is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore.