Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Religion and Orientalism in Asian Studies

Religion and Orientalism in Asian Studies analyses the role of religion in past and present understandings of Asia.

Kiri Paramore
19 April 2018

About Religion and Orientalism in Asian Studies

Religion and Orientalism in Asian Studies analyses the role of religion in past and present understandings of Asia. Religion, and the history of its study in the modern academy, has exercised massive influence over Asian Studies fields in the past century. Asian Studies has in turn affected, and is increasingly shaping, the study of religion. Religion and Orientalism in Asian Studies looks into this symbiotic relationship – both in current practice, and in the modern histories of both Orientalism and Area Studies.

Each chapter of the book deals with one regional sub-discipline in Asian Studies, covering Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, South Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, and Central Eurasian Studies. The chapters are integrated by shared themes that run through the past and present practice of Asian Studies, covering the role of state actors in originating Area Studies, the role of local scholarship in defining and developing it, the interaction between humanities and social science approaches, debates over the dominance of Western and/or modern categories and frameworks, the interaction of past and present and the role of religious actors and religious sensibilities in shaping Asian Studies.

Table of contents

Introduction, Kiri Paramore
1. Religion in Southeast Asian Studies, Ben Arps
2. Religion in the sociology and anthropology of India, Rowena Robinson
3. India and the making of Hinduism: The contribution of the Puranas, Peter Bisschop
4. The study of Chinese Religions in the social sciences: Beyond the Monotheistic Assumption, Anna Sun
5. Coming to terms with religion in East Asia, T. H. Barrett
6. From Field to Text in the Study of Chinese Religion, Barend J. ter Haar
7. Religion in Korean Studies: The Case of Historiography, Marion Eggert
8. The Role of Religion in European and North American Japanese Studies, Hans Martin Krämer
9. Religion, Secularism and the Japanese Shaping of East Asian Studies, Kiri Paramore
10. Christian-Muslim Borderlands: From Eastern European Studies to Central Eurasian Studies, Christian Noack and Michael Kemper


“In addition to drawing attention to the complex relationship between Orientalism, religion, and Area Studies, some of the essays included in this volume also offer new methodologies and new scholarly strategies…It is such original observations which will surely make Religion and Orientalism in Asian Studies a mandatory text in future Ph.D. candidacy exams for scholars of Asian Studies.” –  Reading Religion

“An outstanding exploration of the ways in which religion has played a crucial role in the development of Asian Studies, and of the ways in which Asian Studies has in turn deeply affected the study of religion. This incisive and penetrating work will be of strong interest to scholars and students of Asian Studies and the study of Religion alike. A wonderful contribution.” –  Michael Puett, Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University, USA,

“By critically examining the writings of both European scholars and their Asian interlocutors, Religion and Orientalism goes beyond the work of Edward Said to portray a complex picture of the history of Asian Studies and its entanglement with “religion." A first-rate collection of essays by specialists in different regions - from East Asia to South Asia - this work will be of instant interest to scholars in a range of disciplines. Highly recommended.” –  Jason Ananda Josephson, author of "The Invention of Religion in Japan" (2012) and Chair and Associate Professor of Religion, Williams College, USA

Religion and Orientalism in Asian Studies is the exact sort of book one should turn to for any introductory course in area studies or orientalism. This book takes religion seriously in a field that is too often dominated by the social sciences, and it speaks directly to the deeply-rooted reflexivity of disciplines like Area Studies.” –  John-Paul Ghobrial, Associate Professor of Early Modern History, Oxford University, UK

Website: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/religion-and-orientalism-in-asian-studies-9781350066526/

This website uses cookies.  More information.