An interdisciplinary collection in the new field of environmental humanities, this volume brings together Chinese environmental ethics, religious ontology, and religious practice to explore how traditional Chinese religio-environmental ethics are actually put into social practice both in China’s past and present. It also examines how Chinese religious teachings offer a wealth of resources to the environmental project of forging new ontologies for humans co-existing with other living beings. Different chapters examine how: Buddhist ontology avoids anthropocentrism, fengshui (Chinese geomancy) can help protect the landscape from economic development, popular religion organizes tree-planting, ancient dream interpretation practices avoided constructing the possessive individual subjectivity of modern consumerism, Buddhist rituals and ethics promoted compassion for animals and modern recycling, Confucian ancestor rituals and tombs have deterred industrial expansion, and also how Daoism’s potential role to deter desertification in northern China was stymied by state operations in contemporary China.
A significant advance in the field of Chinese environmental anthropology, the outstanding scholars in this volume provide a unique and much needed contribution to the scholarship on China and the environment.
Mayfair Yang is professor of religious and East Asian studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has authored two monographs: Gifts, Favors, and Banquets: the Art of Social Relationships in China (American Ethnological Society Prize) and Re-enchanting Modernity in China: Ritual Economy and Religious Civil Society in Wenzhou) and has edited two books: Chinese Religiosities: Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation and Spaces of Their Own: Women’s Public Sphere in Transnational China.
By Prof. Mayfair Yang (Religious Studies/East Asian Studies, U.C. Santa Barbara)
II. Exploring Non-Anthropocentric Ontologies
Chapter 1: Protecting Life in Taiwan: Can the Rights of Nature Protect all Sentient Beings?
By Jeffrey Nicolaisen (Duke Kunshan University, China)
III. The Sacralization of Trees and Forests
Chapter 2: From Mission to Economy: The Vicissitudes of Daoist Ecological Forests in Minqin County, Gansu Province
By Der-Rui Yang (Anthropology, Nanjing University, China)
Chapter 3: Homo Arborealus: The Intermeshing of Regimes of Tree-Mindedness
By Adam Chau (East Asian Studies, University of Cambridge, U.K.)
IV. Sentient Beings: Engaging with Animals and Divinities in Dreams and Rituals
Chapter 4: The Non-Anthropocentricity of Dreaming in Late Classical and Medieval China
By Robert Ford Campany (Asian Studies & Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University)
Chapter 5: Releasing Animals for Buddhist Merit in the Context of Science and Ecology
By Dedong Wei (Institute of Theoretical Buddhist & Religious Studies, Renmin University, China)
V. Sacred Sites and Fengshui Landscapes
Chapter 6: Fengshui and Livelihoods: Debating Sustainability in the Qing Dynasty
By Tristan Brown (History, M.I.T.)
Chapter 7: Grave Matters: The Confucian Campaign against Tomb-Removal
By Yongjia Liang (Sociology, National University of Singapore / Zhejiang University, China)
VI. Negotiating the Divides Between the Secular-Religious and Culture-Nature
Chapter 8: Buddhist Environmentalism and Civic Engagement in Secular Shanghai
By Weishan Huang (Cultural & Religious Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong)
5/24/22, New Books Network: Mayfair Yang spoke about the volume on this episode.