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Sinicizing Christianity in the Age of China’s Globalization: An Ethnographic Study

24 Nov 2020 (Tue)
Seminar and Colloquium
Sinicizing Christianity in the Age of China’s Globalization:  An Ethnographic Study
24 Nov 2020 (Tue)
14:30 - 16:00 pm
Professor Nanlai Cao, Remin University of China

Sinicizing Christianity in the Age of China’s Globalization: An Ethnographic Study


Speaker : Professor Nanlai Cao,Remin University of China
Date :   24 Nov 2020 (Tue)
Time : 14:30 - 16:00 pm
Format : Online talk with Cisco Webex
Language : English
Target : For HKBU Staff and Student Only 



This study describes the migration of a highly indigenized Chinese Christianity to secular Europe through transnational Chinese trading networks. Ethnic trading communities in France and Italy serve to bind Chinese Christians together in diaspora and a strong emphasis on congregational autonomy helps embed them in a relatively closed migrant business community. At the contemporary moment of China’s state-led globalization, these mobile Chinese Christians seek to repay China’s “gospel debts” to missionary sending Western nations a century ago, thus leading to a Sinocentric project of global evangelization.Drawing on ethnographic interviews conducted during fieldwork in Paris and Rome, Prof. Cao will show how Christianity has played an important role in Chinese migrants’ adaptation to dramatic socioeconomic changes brought about by transnational living circumstances, and how the migrant church has become a unique civil society organization in which the family, market and state intersect.


About the Speaker:
Nanlai Cao is professor of religious studies at Renmin University of China. His research projects have centered on transnational religious and trading networks, church-state relations, state-business relations, and the religious-economic dynamics of Chinese urban life. After graduating from Peking University with a degree in sociology, he was trained as a sociologist of religion at Fordham University and then did his PhD in anthropology at the Australian National University. He is author of Constructing China’s Jerusalem: Christians, Power, and Place in Contemporary Wenzhou (Stanford UP, 2010) and coeditor of Religion and Mobility in a Globalizing Asia: New Ethnographic Explorations (Routledge, 2013) and Chinese Religions Going Global (Brill, forthcoming).