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  • Speaker | 11 December, 2019 (18:00)Book now

    The Catholic Church and the Chinese State: Control, Contention and Negotiation

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    Date(s) - 11/12/2019
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


    Embassy of Iceland


    1 Liangmaqiao Beixiaojie, Beijing, China



    Entrance Fee

    FCCC Members Free - Non-members 100 RMB

    This talk will examine the history of the interaction between the Catholic Church and the Chinese State. Most scholarship on the history of the Church in China has focused on the early modern missions of Jesuit luminaries like Matteo Ricci and the resulting intellectual exchange between the Jesuits and Chinese scholars. Less research has been done on the history of Catholicism in modern China, and those studies that do exist tend to fall into a straightforward narrative of Catholicism benefiting from imperialism in the nineteenth century, gaining toleration and encouragement in the Republican era, and then being suppressed in the Communist era. But the reality was far more complex. In many ways, there were continuities in the ambitions of the Chinese state to control Catholicism from the late Qing into the People’s Republic era. At the same time, local realities on the ground typically forced a conciliatory approach. Thus, the era of High Maoism (1958-76) when the Church was suppressed outright can be seen as an exception to the rule of Chinese statecraft towards the Catholic Church. In tracing the history of the Church in modern China, this talk will consider Catholicism alongside other religious communities, including current efforts by the government to “Sinicize” Islam and Christianity.
    Steven Pieragastini is a Lecturer in Asian Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He received his PhD in History from Brandeis University in February 2017, and is writing a book on the history of the Catholic Church in modern China. He has also published on the history of universities in Shanghai and the intersection of imperial projects in China’s borderland regions.


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