Religions of China, Fall 2015
Time/Loc.: Thursdays, Slot 14, 1:40-4:30
Office Hrs.:
Dr. Alison Marshall
Room 301, Clark Hall E-mail: [email protected]
Thursdays 11:30-12:30 and by appointment.
Marking Scheme:
Book Review
Midterm exam
Class Presentation
Final Exam
10% (Assessment will be based on the number and quality
of questions asked during class, and participation in group
discussions and debates), & 2 page video review re Nov. 19)
15% (due October 15)
20% (Nov 5 with 2 parts: definitions 20% & essays 80%)
25% (20 minutes, due in class Nov. 12, 26 and December 3)
30% (take home - handed out Dec. 3 and due Dec. 13)
•To prepare, focus on lecture notes, audio-visual material, and
assigned readings.
Goals and learning objectives:
 In keeping with the goals of the Religion and Culture Department the course examines the
influence of religion on histories, genders, societies, cultures, selfhood, and human rights.
The study of religion not only includes the study of scripture and written texts and
theologies. It also includes the study of how people act religiously inside and outside of
temples and in front of altars and deities. The study of religion further includes the religious
dimensions of everyday practice (eating food, relationships, singing songs).
1. It is the student’s responsibility to retain a backup copy of ALL assignments submitted for grading.
2. Students are advised to read the General Calendar regarding Senate information on appeals,
withdrawal dates, and academic misconduct such as plagiarism and cheating.
3. Please note that registering in this course commits you to the dates and times of the final exams. If
you are aware of possible conflicts with that date, please see me immediately during the first
week of the course. November 27, 2015 is the final date to withdraw from this course without
academic penalty. Students who cease to attend after this date but who have not officially
withdrawn from the course by the above date will receive a grade of F. If a student is unable to
attend the majority of class lectures, the student is advised to withdraw from the course.
4. Lateness is a flaw in the work, similar to poor spelling or disorganized referencing. Late
Assignment Penalties: Work must be submitted on the dates and times indicated, or a daily 5%
late penalty will result.
5. Students will not be asked for identification when writing a test or examination.
6. No unauthorized material or equipment may be brought with you to the final exam.
7. Electronic devices including cell phones are not allowed in the examination centre.
8. Texting and cell phone usage during class time is inappropriate. Cell phones must be turned off
before entering the classroom. Facebooking during class time is not permitted.
9. Students who plan to conduct research interviews, focus groups, surveys, or any other
method of collecting data from any person, even a family member, must obtain the
approval of the appropriate ethics committee before commencing data collection.
Exceptions are research activities in class as a learning exercise.
Human Rights Compliance:
Brandon University is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for individuals with
disabilities. If you need such accommodation (i.e. classroom or testing accommodations), please
inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. For more information about accommodations
for students with disabilities, contact the Disability Services Coordinator located in the Accessible
Learning Centre, Room 106 A.E. McKenzie Bldg or call 727-9759.
Research Paper: Research papers are to be approx. 12 pages in length (3000 words) with an
additional two-page annotated bibliography. Research papers are graded according to four
categories: language, form, ideas and analysis. All research topics and thesis statements must be
approved in advance. See the Faculty of Arts form requirements for essays:
http://www.brandonu.ca/arts/dean/format-for-written-assignments. See also outlining techniques:
For the stamp method (ways to read secondary sources – structure, thesis, argument, motives,
primaries): http://clas.uiowa.edu/history/teaching-and-writing-center/guides/sourceidentification/secondary-source
Required text:
Ching, Julia. Chinese Religions. New York: Orbis, 1993.
Additional readings will be handed out to supplement the text.
Sept. 10
Introduction and What are Chinese Religions (Ching, Julia. Chinese
Religions. New York: Orbis, 1993, 1-12)
Sept. 17
Ancestral Cult and Divination and Sacrifice and Kingship, and The Classic of
Changes/Oracle Bones (Chinese Religions, Chapters 1 and 2).
Sept. 24
Morality and Rituals: Confucianism as Religious Humanism (Chinese
Religions, 51–67). Handouts: Confucius and Mencius.
Oct. 1
Confucianism and its Rivals: Mohism and Legalism (Chinese Religions, 68–
84). Handouts: Mozi and others.
Oct. 8
Freedom and the Natural: Taoism as Religious Philosophy (Chinese
Religions, 85–101). Zhuangzi and others
Oct. 15
Book Review Freedom and the Natural: Taoism as Religious Philosophy –
The way and its power, Immortality and Mysticism: Taoism as Salvation Religion (Chinese
Religions, 102–118). Handouts: Classic of Mountains and Rivers)
Oct. 22
Immortality and Mysticism: Taoism as Salvation Religion (Huang
Lao/Southern Chinese ecstatic religion in the Nine Songs (Deities))
Oct. 29
Buddhism’s entry into China (Chinese Religions, 121–136) Buddhism
becomes Chinese (Chinese Religions, 137-152)
Nov. 5
mid-term exam
Nov. 12
Neo-Confucianism as Response to Buddhism (Chinese Religions, 153–169)
Zhu Xi’s Neo-Confucianism Chinese popular religion (Chinese Religions, 205–230)
Nov. 19
Nine Songs video (This video has a duration of 2 hours and 30 minutes).
Own time viewing. No class. Write 2 page review and submit November 28.
Nov. 26
Confucianism and Daoism in the contemporary era, The Way of Unity sect,
Dec. 3
EXCEPTIONAL. Exceptional knowledge of concepts and/or techniques and
exceptional skill and/or great originality in their use in satisfying the requirements of an assignment
or course.
EXCELLENT. Thorough knowledge of concepts and/or techniques together
with a high degree of skill and/or originality in their use.
VERY GOOD-EXCELLENT. Very high level of knowledge of concepts
and/or techniques with very high degree of skill and/or some elements of originality.
VERY GOOD. High level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques
together with considerable skill in using them.
GOOD. Acceptable level of knowledge of concepts and/or techniques
together with reasonable skill in using them.
COMPETENT. Acceptable level of knowledge of concepts and/or
techniques together with a fair degree of skill in using them.
FAIRLY COMPETENT. Acceptable level of knowledge of concepts and/or
techniques together with some ability in using them.
PASSING. Minimal knowledge of required concepts and/or techniques
together with minimal ability in using them.
FAILING. No knowledge of the required concepts and/or techniques nor
ability to use them.
Late penalty: 5% daily.
Book Review 15% October 15
3-4 typed (hand-written submissions will not be accepted), double-spaced text pages in 12pt Times
New Roman font with one-inch margins and following the Chicago Manual of Style
(http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html). The title page, endnotes, and
bibliography do not count towards the page limit. Do not number your title page.
Review the following book: Russell Kirkland, Taoism: The Enduring Tradition. First Edition.
NY: Routledge, 2004. E-book available in library, in addition to hard copy.
Due: October 15: NO EXTENSIONS (although late assignments will be accepted, with a
late penalty; see Notes below for late penalty policy).
Electronic submissions are not acceptable. Papers will not be considered submitted until a
hard-copy is received by the Professor.
Book reviews will include:
1) a complete citation of the book under review--all in proper form following the Chicago
Manual of Style (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html);
2) introductory statement;
3) information about the author;
4) statement of the purpose of the book/nature of the work;
5) summary of content--this is an overview stressing the main ideas and arguments employed
by the author;
6) critique--an assessment of the work in terms of its content and style, and an evaluation of its
relevancy or usefulness in relation to the course topic. You should point out both positive
and negative aspects of the book;
7) concluding statement.
Sample Presentation Topics:
Daoism or Confucianism and Christianity
Buddhism and Meditation
Daoism and Healing
Buddhism and Christianity
Buddhism and hells
Gods or goddesses in Chinese religion
Chinese acupuncture
Confucianism - religion or philosophy?
Buddhism and Chinese religion
Sudden and Gradual Enlightenment in Zen
Buddhism and Ecology
Daoism and Warfare
Gender, Chinese religion and Food
Confucianism and Greek Philosophy
Neolithic period (10,000-2100 BCE) - Legendary 3 Sovereigns Yellow Emperor, Yao,
Xia Dynasty (ca 2100-1600 BCE) - First Historical Dynasty — Sage Kings and King Yu
Shang Dynasty (ca1766-1123 BCE) - Divination by oracle bone/Yi oracle, King Tang
Zhou Dynasty (ca 1122-256 BCE)
Warring States Period (479-221 B.C.)
"Laozi" (aka Lao Dan) (trad. 6th century BCE)
Confucius (aka Kongzi) (479-551 BCE)
“Mozi” (aka Mo Di) ( fl. ca. 430 BCE)
"Mengzi" (aka Mencius) (fourth century BCE)
Zhuangzi (aka Zhuang Zhou) (fl. 350-300 BCE)
Zou Yan and the five elements (350-270 BCE)
Guodian version of the Way and its Power (third century)
Mawangdui version of Way and its Power (c. 195 BCE)
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE)—First Emperor of China
Burning of Books (213 BCE)
Han Dynasty (206-220 CE)—Emperor Han Wudi (141-86 BCE) and Confucianism
Daoist institutionalized religion begins, and Buddhism comes to China
Six Dynasties (220-589 CE)—Period of instability, Chinese settlement in south, Growth of
Buddhist & Daoist texts & institutions, Neo-Daoism and Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove
Sui Dynasty (581-618)—Block printing (c. 600)
Tang Dynasty (618-907)—Buddhism, Confucian Return to Antiquity Movement
Song Dynasty (960-1260) Printing of Daoist Canon 1019, Confucian revival (1100),
Zhu Xi (1130-1200)
Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)—Period of Mongolian rule and the Patronage of Buddhism
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)—Wang Yangming (1472-1529)
Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)—Period of Manchurian rule, Taiping rebellion (1850-64)
Boxer Rebellion (1900) and Wuchang Uprising (October 10, 1910)
Republican Period (1911-1948/9)
May Fourth Movement (1919)
Death of Sun Yatsen (1925)
General Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) then leads Chinese Nationalists (KMT/GMD)
Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)
Communists win the civil war and Nationalists retreat to Taiwan (1949)
Peoples Republic of China 1949—
Cultural Revolution 1966-76
Anti-Confucius Campaign 1973-74
Mawangdui The Way and its Power silk manuscript discovered near Changsha, Hunan
province (1973)
Mao Zedong dies (1976)
Deng Xiaoping era (1978-1994) provides for new religious freedom in 1982 recognizing five
religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam, and Protestantism.
Tiananmen Incident- Military suppression/ killing of student and other protestors (June 4,
Guodian Bamboo-slip Daodejing discovered Jingmen, Hubei province (1993)
Olympics in Beijing, China (2008)

Religions of China 2015 v1