Review of Religion and Chinese Society


Launched in 2014, Review of Religion and Chinese Society is an international peer-reviewed journal publishes articles and book reviews in the social sciences and certain humanities disciplines. All articles will be in English, and Chinese titles and abstracts will also be provided. RRCS is published by Brill Publishers.
“Religion” is understood in the broadest sense, including various spiritual and meaning-making systems of beliefs and practices.
“Chinese society” includes those in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Chinese diaspora communities in Asia, North America, Europe, and elsewhere throughout the world. The journal also welcomes studies that compare religion in Chinese and other societies.
RRCS is multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary in its outlook and presents theoretical and empirical studies of religion in disciplines such as anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, sociology, and history. Preferred articles are theory-driven, empirical studies, although the journal also publishes articles that are primarily empirical or theoretical.
The journal publishes reviews of books that have been published in English, Chinese, and other languages. It may also publish review essays of particular fields, symposia of particular topics, interviews with renowned scholars, and reports of academic conferences relevant to the journal’s themes.
Article submissions and proposals for special issues are welcome.
To recommend that your library subscribe to RRCS, you can complete and send this recommendation form to your librarian.

Editorial Board

Editor in Chief:
Fenggang Yang, Professor of Sociology and Director of Center on Religion and Chinese Society
Purdue University, USA
Associate Editors:
Ryan Dunch, Professor and Chair of East Asian Studies
University of Alberta, Canada
André Laliberté, Professor of Political Science
University of Ottawa, Canada
David Palmer, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
The University of Hong Kong
Jonathan E. Pettit, Assistant Professor of Chinese Religion
University of Hawaii, USA
Book Review Editor:
Chris White, Assistant Director of Center on Religion and Chinese Society
Purdue University, USA
Editorial Board:
Hsing-kuang Chao (Tunghai University, Taiwan)
Adam Chau (Cambridge University, UK)
Kenneth Dean (McGill University, Canada)
Stephen Feuchtwang (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)
Shining Gao (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China)
Vincent Goossaert (CNRS-EPHE, France)
Zhe Ji (INALCO, France)
Xiangping Li (East China Normal University, Shanghai, China)
Xi Lian (Duke University, USA)
Richard Madsen (University of California, San Diego, USA)
Anna Sun (Kenyon College, Ohio, USA)
Michael Szonyi (Harvard University, USA)
Yen-zen Tsai (Chengchi University, Taiwan)
Carsten Vala (Loyola University Maryland, USA)
David Wank (Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan)
Robert Weller (Boston University, USA)
Mei-hui Mayfair Yang (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)
Fuk-tsang Ying (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

Volume 6, Issue 1 (2019)

Negotiations and Diversifications of China’s Christianities / Carsten Vala
Research Articles

The Chinese Catholic Church: Between Rome and Beijing and Sinicization from Above and Below / Richard Madsen
Both the Chinese state and the Vatican have an interest in maintaining more regular control over local Catholic community life. Their interests partially converge in seeking a regularized process for selecting Catholic bishops in the officially recognized part of the Chinese Church. This overlapping of interests is the basis for the “provisional agreement” between the Vatican and China on the selection of bishops signed on September 22, 2018. The agreement fails to address the area where Sino-Vatican interests diverge, i.e., the status of the thirty-six “underground” bishops, recognized by the Vatican but not by the Chinese government. Meanwhile, grassroots Catholic communities in China are deeply embedded in local social structures and their leaders have long exercised a considerable degree of agency in managing local affairs and adapting Catholic practices to local culture. The interaction between local communities and the long-term development of the Chinese Catholic church will depend, on the one hand, on the complex cooperative and competitive arrangements between the Vatican and the Chinese state and, on the other hand, on the interaction between the agency of local communities and the forces of control from above.
The Rise of the “Underground” Catholic Church in Early Reform-Era China / Paul Marian
This essay aims to present a detailed account of the restoration of the Catholic Church in Shanghai during 1979–1981 and then to explain how the arrests and suppression of Catholic leaders in late 1981 solidified the division between the official and underground Catholic churches. Two of the major factors that lead to the reemergence of the Shanghai Catholic underground community were the release and rehabilitation of veteran priests and other Catholic leaders and the dissemination of a 1978 Vatican decree that gave great latitude to the church, which was functioning in “difficult circumstances.” The essay ends with a discussion of current prospects of the Catholic Church in China.
TTrends and Reflections: A Review of Empirical Studies of Christianity in Mainland China since 2000 / Jianbo Huang and Mengyin Hu
Christianity in China has achieved a rapid growth in population since the 1980s. This article mainly reviews empirical studies on Christianity from 2000 to the present. Drawing on statistics from the China Academic Journal Network Publishing Database (cajd), this article begins with an analysis of the trends in both quantity and research interests of large-scale empirical studies. Categories of churches are defined and applied to the analysis of various topics related to Christianity in China and to academic questions addressed by Chinese scholars. The article also discusses theoretical frameworks used to explain the dynamics behind the revival of Christianity and studies of the social functions of Christian churches. In addition, the article reviews investigations of Christianity in social life in contemporary China, studies of religious boundaries and civil society, the causal relationship between Christianity and economic development, its functions in urbanization, and other related subjects. It ends with discussions of Christianity’s global dimension, its identity as a global religion, and its relation to the emergence of a global China.
Official Protestantism in China / Karrie J. Koesel, Yizhi Hu and Joshua Pine
What do we know about Protestant Christianity in contemporary China? How is it organized; where, why, and how is it growing; and how do we understand its evolving relationship with the party-state? The purpose of this article is to evaluate the state of official Protestantism in China and take stock of what we have learned. We do so in three ways. One is to identify the origins of state-sanctioned Protestantism; another is to evaluate conflicting claims about church size, growth, and demographics; and the third is to suggest directions for future study.
Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Sketch of the Field of Christianity in China Studies and Possible Future Directions / Carsten Vala
This essay sketches the current state of fieldwork-based studies of Christianity in China, focusing on monographs published from 2008 to 2018. It discusses strengths and gaps in research paradigms (religious economy or market theory; rational-actor bargaining; institutional theory; religious ecology), levels of analysis (macro- or national level; meso- or regional level; micro- or congregational level), and modes of interaction (resistance-domination; negotiation; cooperation) in an effort to point out areas rich for future research: the impact of theologies and denominations, the existence of regional models of Christianity, and the study of money, real estate, social service, syncretism, and religious decline.
History Lessons: Uncovering China’s Protestant Past Today / Chris White
This article contends that Chinese Protestant history is increasingly produced and consumed by various interest groups in China today. Protestant families, church congregations, and local state actors are all involved in reassessing and promoting local Protestant history. These processes reveal vibrant, organic forms of acculturation of Christianity into Chinese society. This article further argues that it would be prudent for scholars of contemporary Chinese Protestantism to focus greater analytical attention on Chinese Protestant history.
Book Reviews
Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab, written by Kristian Petersen / Tristan G. Brown
Shanghai Sacred: The Religious Landscape of a Global City, written by Benoȋt Vermander, Liz Hingley, and Liang Zhang / Mark McLeister

Volume 5, Issue 2 (2018)

Volume 5, Issue 1 (2018)

Volume 4, Issue 2 (2017)

Volume 4, Issue 1 (2017)

Volume 3, Issue 2 (2016)

Volume 3, Issue 1 (2016)

Volume 2, Issue 2 (2015)

Volume 2, Issue 1 (2015)

Volume 1, Issue 2 (2014)

Volume 1, Issue 1 (2014)


Online submission: Articles for publication in the Review of Religion and Chinese Society can be submitted online through Editorial Manager, please click here.

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Review of Religion and Chinese Society
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