Religion in Chinese Society

 (Subject to change)



This undergraduate-level course is designed to introduce students to the sociological study of religion in Chinese societies. The purpose of this course is to (1) familiarize students with the basic sociological characteristics of major religions in Chinese societies; (2) make the student aware of different perspectives in understanding the significant role of Chinese religion in both traditional and contemporary China; and (3) develop intellectual dialogue and mutual understanding between China and the West.



This course combines multiple methods of presentation including lectures, field research, case studies, and student reports.



English, with introduction of relevant Chinese terms



By taking this course, students can expect to:

  1. Know about basic doctrines and teachings of major Chinese Religions;
  2. Learn the basic social-political situation of major Chinese religions in contemporary China;
  3. Have first-hand experience with Chinese religions;
  4. Understand different perspectives on Chinese religions from both the Oriental and Western societies.



Students are expected to read the recommended listed materials and to be prepared for the discussions during the weekly meetings. The assessment includes several components. In the interest of credit transfer for international students from The School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP), the course requirements for native students and SSDPP international students are different, as follows.


SSDPP international students

  • Class Participation (10%) [the same requirements as native students]
  • Mid-term Paper (20%) [the same requirements as native students]
  • Final Paper (30%) [the same requirements as native students]
  • Field research (40%) Besides the components listed above, each international student from SSDPP should perform additional field research to satisfy the requirement of credit transfer. This field research counts one more credit hour.
    • In particular, each SSDPP international student should visit all of the listed religious sites in Shanghai and conduct field research. The research topic is open. You may want to address topics such as the commercialization of Chinese religion, the secularization of Chinese religion, among others. Each SSDPP international student is required to turn in a research report about his or her field work at the end of the semester. In this report, you should include the following information: a brief introduction of field research sites, your research topic(s), what you find, and what conclusions you finally get.
    • religious sites for field research

The Jing’an Temple

The Sheshan Basilica

The Chenghuang Temple

The White Cloud Daoist Temple

The Hudong Chapel

The Xiaotaoyuan Mosque (optional)



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