Chinese historical and epigraphic sources such as those collected in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia by Wolfgang Franke and his associates demonstrate the long process of the spread of Chinese temples and associations to the port cities of Southeast Asia. This workshop will include papers on different aspects of Chinese temples (including Buddhist monasteries) across the countries of Southeast Asia, from a range of disciplinary perspectives including archaeology, history, religious and ritual studies, anthropology, sociology, economics, and media studies. We invite papers on a range of topics that can include: architectural and iconographic features of temples; the ritual production of space within and around these temples; the economics of Chinese temples; the charitable activities of Chinese temples; accounts of individuals and their relationships with these temples – temple directors, everyday devotees, ritual specialists, archivists, photographers, tourists, etc. Papers that seek to provide an overview of temple networks across Southeast Asia, or the interactions between temples within a particular city or site, are also welcome. Studies of the political conditions for Chinese temples in different locations are also welcome.

Temples are sites of the flows of ideas, people, gods, capital, and ritual artifacts – many kinds of movement and transformation – thus papers exploring mobility in relation to Chinese temples are also welcome. We seek papers on religion and migration, on the circulation or the training of ritual specialists, opera troupes, craftsmen and ritual artifacts within transnational networks. We also seek papers on spirit mediums and their roles in Chinese temples, papers on processions and major and minor rituals, or papers that explore typologies of temples. Scholars working with social network analysis or GIS approaches to Chinese temples in Southeast Asia are invited to send in paper proposals as well. Other papers could explore major religious events of Southeast Asia, such as the Nine Emperor God Festival, or Chinese New Year rites and processions, or the activities during the Ghost Month, either through individual case studies or through comparative or network analyses. We seek studies of locally invented cults and rites, hybrid ritual forms, and on the interactions between Chinese temple rites and communities with other religious or ethnic groups. Other related topics include the spread of particular Buddhist lineages, or sectarian religious movements, through the region. Comparative studies of ritual change and its causes and effects, or of the different kinds of trust networks and state-society relations developed within and between Chinese temples in different parts of Southeast Asia (and China, HK, Macao and Taiwan) would be welcome.


Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission by 18 January 2019. Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted. The organizers plan to publish a special issue with selected papers presented in this workshop. By participating in the workshop, you agree to participate in the future publication plans of the organizers. Hotel accommodation and a contribution towards airfare will be provided for accepted paper participants (one author per paper).

Please submit your proposal using the provided template to Ms Tay Minghua at [email protected]. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by 31 January 2019. Participants will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000-8,000 words) by 20 February 2019.