Book Talk: Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity Across the South China Sea (Oxford, 2020)
Southeast Asia Lecture Series, Fall 2020
Speaker: Jack Meng-Tat Chia, Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies at the National University of Singapore
Live Q & A session on Monday, November 23, 2020, at 10 AM EST via Zoom. REGISTER HERE.
Discussant: Charles S. Hallisey, Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures, Harvard Divinity School
Moderator: Annette Damayanti Lienau, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Description: Monks in Motion is the first book to offer a history of what Chia terms "South China Sea Buddhism," referring to a Buddhism that emerged from a swirl of correspondence networks, forced exiles, voluntary visits, evangelizing missions, institution-building campaigns, and the organizational efforts of countless Chinese and Chinese diasporic Buddhist monks. Drawing on multilingual research conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Chia challenges the conventional categories of "Chinese Buddhism" and "Southeast Asian Buddhism" by focusing on the lesser-known—yet no less significant—Chinese Buddhist communities of maritime Southeast Asia. By crossing the artificial spatial frontier between China and Southeast Asia, Monks in Motion breaks new ground, bringing Southeast Asia into the study of Chinese Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism into the study of Southeast Asia.