Monday, July 22, 2019 - 3:33pm

2020 Rapid Religious Cultural Change Conference

23-24 & 30-31 October 2020

CONFERENCE THEME: “Rapid Religious Cultural Change”

Executive Summary: While religious cultural change has been studied, there is a critical need for more research to determine the influences and processes of intentional religious cultural change and innovation. This need can be met through a collaboration among theologians, philosophers, ethicists, anthropologists, sociologists, and religious studies scholars, to name a few. To accomplish this work scholars will gather for a conference at Hong Kong Baptist University with a focus on rapid religious change in East and South Asian forms of religion. The central question is “Why do religious beliefs at times change very quickly and what kinds of societal impacts do these changes have?” This conference will generate new knowledge regarding how religions end, arise, and endure across time and space.

For questions about registering for the conference please contact, Ms Mary Siu (, Centre for Sino-Christian Studies. 

Plenary Speakers

Shun-hing Chan is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University, Associate Researcher at the Centre for Sino-Christian Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, and Visiting Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Peking University, PRC. His research focuses on the sociology of religion, church–state relations, and religion and social movements. His books include Changing Church and State Religions in Hong Kong, 1950-2000 (with Beatrice Leung, Hong Kong University Press), and A Carnival of Gods: Studies of Religions in Hong Kong (edited, Oxford University Press). His journal articles have appeared in Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, Asian Journal of Religion and Society, China Quarterly, Chinese Sociological Review, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, International Sociology, Journal of Church and State, and Review of Religion and Chinese Society.

Gavin Flood is Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion at Oxford University, Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall, and Yap Kim Hao Visiting Professor of Comparative Religious Studies at Yale- NUS Singapore. His publications include Religion and the Philosophy of Life (2019), The Truth Within: A History of Inwardness in Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism (2013), The Importance of Religion: Meaning and Action in Our Strange World (2012), and The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory, and Tradition (2004). He is also the General Editor of the series ‘The Oxford History of Hinduism’ and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Michael Puett is the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese Anthropology and History at Harvard University.  His interests are focused on the inter-relations between anthropology, history, philosophy, and religion, with the hope of bringing the study of China into larger historical and comparative frameworks.  He is the author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China, as well as the co-author, with Adam Seligman, Robert Weller, and Bennett Simon, of Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity

J. Derrick Lemons is an Associate Professor of Religion and Religion Fellow for the Willson Center for Humanities and Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, USA. He is the President of the American Academy of Religion for the Southeastern Region, Regional Coordinator of the American Academy of Religion, and the Director of the Center for Theologically Engaged Anthropology. Dr. Lemons graduated from Southern Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science in Religion (1994) and from Asbury Theological Seminary with a Master’s (1997) and Doctorate (2008). His research and teaching are guided by his interest in the intentional innovations of religious subcultures and the influence of theology in religion across time and space. Currently, he serves as the PI of a $327,000 John Templeton Foundation grant that is researching rapid religious change. His latest book is Theologically Engaged Anthropology (Oxford University Press).

This conference is being sponsored by the Centre for Sino-Christian Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University and the Center of Theologically Engaged Anthropology at the University of Georgia.