The Chinese Spirituality and Society Program (CSSP), based at the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University and supported by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, is to support well-designed research projects on Chinese spirituality and society, organize training workshops for the grantees to carry out robust social scientific research on religion in Chinese society, and sponsor summer institutes for teaching the sociology of religion at Chinese universities. We hope the CSSP will generate new findings of religion in China, nourish the spirit of creativity and international collaboration among Chinese scholars, and enhance scholarly understanding of Chinese spirituality and society both in China and the West.
The central component of this program is to provide a total of $500,000 of research grants to Chinese scholars through an open Request for Proposal (RFP) competition. We plan to award 2 or 3 large grants to research centers and about 10 grants to individual projects. The research center grants are to support well-designed research projects at research centers or institutes that have evident institutional support from the university and/or other relevant authorities. The research center grants vary in amount from $50,000 up to $100,000 depending upon the value of the project and actual costs, and will be awarded to the institution. The individual grants, which may vary from $10,000 up to $30,000, are to support well-designed projects conducted by one or two researchers. All of the grantees will be selected in two stages: First, applicants should submit 3-page Letters of Intent (LOIs) briefly describing their proposed projects. A panel of judges will review and evaluate the LOIs and will select about 30 most promising applicants to invite to submit full proposals. Second, a panel of judges will review and evaluate the full proposals and recommend the strongest to receive the grants.
The CSSP will organize three intensive training workshops. The first workshop is to be held in China in summer 2010 for the selected 30 applicants based on the LOIs, and the workshop will focus on research design and proposal writing. The second and third workshops will be held at Purdue University in summer 2011 and 2012 for the grantees, and will focus on the research method, data collection, data analysis, and writing for scholarly journals and monographs. A final conference will be held in 2013 to disseminate the findings of the funded projects.
The CSSP will also sponsor the annual Summer Institute for teaching the sociology of religion in 2010 to 2012. The participants of the Summer Institute will be selected on a competitive basis among faculty members at Chinese universities that have been offering or plan to offer sociology of religion courses. The Summer Institute is to facilitate these scholars to develop sociology of religion courses on both undergraduate and graduate levels.
The CSSP also plans to publish an annual volume of the social scientific study of religion, which may include research articles by Chinese scholars and translated articles originally published in the West.