Quanzhen Daoism in Modern Chinese Society and Culture: An International Symposium

DATE: Friday-Saturday, November 2-3, 2007

PLACE: The Alumni House, UC Berkeley

CO-ORGANIZERS: Xun Liu, History Department, Rutgers University
Vincent Goossaert, CNRS/Chinese University of Hong Kong

SPONSOR: Center for Chinese Studies



As a very influential and distinct Chinese religious institution in both late imperial and modern China, Quanzhen Daoism has long attracted scholarly and public interest. However, the scholarship on the subject has dealt primarily with the early formative period of Quanzhen Daoism in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and concerned mainly with its doctrinal teachings, self-cultivation techniques, and other internal issues of the religious sect.

Recently, scholars of modern China and Daoism have begun to focus on the Quanzhen Daoism's close ties with and influences on modern Chinese society and culture for the past several centuries. Adopting new interpretative frameworks and strategies of social and cultural history, anthropology, and sociology, and using fresh data culled from archives, local and temple gazetteers, newly discovered epigraphic materials, literary writings, art works, and contemporary fieldwork, scholars in the field of Daoist studies and modern China have in the last decade or so produced a rich body of new research and writings focused on both the tradition and transformation of Quanzhen Daoism in modern Chinese society and culture.

It is our shared belief that these recent scholarly works are not only representative of the new directions and approaches to the studies of Quanzhen Daoism, but they are also closely engaged with the most debated issues of religious studies, social history, and anthropological studies of modern China. For that reason, we are convinced that a small symposium involving the major scholars from the field will be best venue to showcase and consolidate the recent innovative research and writings, and further contribute to the field of modern Daoism and modern Chinese studies at large through close and intensive intellectual exchange and discussions among the leading scholars in the field.

NOTE: There will not be a formal reading of papers at the conference. Discussants will read the papers before-hand, and begin the session with their comments, which will then open up to a general discussion amongst panelists.



All sessions are free and open to the public.

Friday, November 2, 2007

9:00 am - Welcome

Panel 1 - Quanzhen Identities
9:30 am - 12:00 pm

This panel deals with the construction of a distinct Quanzhen identity, in various contexts: the monastic culture, the Quanzhen practices among the laity, and the contemporary scholarly milieu, and literary and popular imagination. In all these cases, we ask what makes Quanzhen unique and specific, and examine what elements of Quanzhen tradition have been chosen and invested with particular significance by those people who claim a Quanzhen identity for themselves. We would also like to address to the social discourse on Quanzhen, and seek to understand how non-Quanzhen people represented Quanzhen and thought about it.

Vincent Goossaert, CNRS/GSRL, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Quanzhen's Place in Chinese Urban Religious Life, 1850-1950

Zhang Guangbao, Institute of History, CASS, Beijing
On Quanzhen Studies in China Since the Early Republican Period 民国以来中国大陆全真教研究评述

Monica Esposito, Institute of Research for Humanistic Studies, Kyoto University
Daozang jiyao and Quanzhen Identity during the Qing Dynasty

Lai Chi-tim, Centre for Daoist Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong
An Overview of Cantonese Quanzhen

Raoul Birnbaum, History of Art and Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz
Terry Kleeman, Religious Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Lunch

Panel 2 - Quanzhen Material Culture, Production and Transmission
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

This panel examines the material productions and propaganda of the Quanzhen, such as texts and works of art as well as event-productions (rituals, festivals), all considered as means by which the Quanzhen identity and teachings reach out to society at large. We are most of all interested in both the modes of production (who writes/ paints/ performs; in what media; for what audience) and the social and political contexts of such production. We would like to reach a balanced view of the Quanzhen specific contribution in the larger picture of late imperial and modern circulation of religious products such as self-cultivation manuals, morality books, religious art, temples cults and festivals, etc.

Vincent Durand-Dastes, Classical Chinese Literature, INALCO, Paris
Quanzhen Masters and Ming-Qing Vernacular Hagiographical Novels

Mei Li, Historical Geography, Central China Normal University
The Revival of the Longmen Lineage and the Temple Constructions on Mount Wudang during the Qing 清代武当山龙门派的中兴与宫观建设

Stephen Eskildsen, Philosophy and Religion, University of Tennessee
Late Qing and Early Republican Textual Transmission of Quanzhen Inner Alchemic Texts: the Cases of Dacheng jieyao 大成捷要 and Xingming fajue mingzhi 性命法訣明指

Wu Yakui, Independent Scholar
Quanzhen Daoist Altars in Late Qing and Early Republican China: The Case of Jueyun Altar in Shanghai 论清末民初的全真道“坛”:以海上觉云为中心

Philip Clart, East Asian Religions, University of Missouri, Columbus
Eugene Cooper, Anthropology, University of Southern California

4:30 pm - Tea break

Special Visual Presentation
5:00 pm

Thomas H. Hahn, Asian Studies, Cornell
Capturing the Tao with a Camera? Don't Be Ridiculous, Dear!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Panel 3 - Quanzhen Daoism, Local Society, and Religious Culture
9:30 am - 12:00 pm

This panel looks at how the Quanzhen institution fitted in the larger late imperial and modern Chinese religious culture and local society; it examines the particular niche that Quanzhen Daoism occupied in terms of patronage and audience, and how it competed or cooperated with other religious institutions (other Daoists, Buddhists, local cults and specialists, etc.). Special attention will be paid to the multiformity of Quanzhen, that is, the many local variations and different adaptations of the Quanzhen institutions to local religious and social contexts.

Guo Wu, Religious Studies Institute, Sichuan University
Quanzhen Daoist Development and the Regional Culture in Southwestern China in Modern Times 近现代西南地区全真道的发展及其与地方文化之关系

Wang Gang, African & Asian Languages and Literature, University of Florida, Gainesville
A Local Longmen Lineage in Late Ming-Early Qing Yunnan

Mori Yuria, Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Waseda University
Yan Yonghe and the Quanzhen Daoism in Sichuan in Qing China

Fan Guangchun, Center for Taoist Studies, Shaanxi Academy of Social Sciences
Quanzhen Daoism on White Cloud Mount in Contemporary Shaanxi

David Johnson, History, UC Berkeley
Paul Katz, Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch

Panel 4 - Quanzhen Daoism, the State, Secularization, and Modernity
1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

This panel explores the processes of transformation through which Quanzhen institutions and practitioners continuously adapted to changing socio-political contexts throughout China's late imperial, modern and contemporary periods. The Quanzhen tradition, far from conservative and insulated from social change, did actively adapt and reinvent itself during the early Qing to regain control and autonomy of many Daoist sacred places, and become a privileged actor in Chinese society and state politics. It also adapted to the changing social and political conditions of the expanding state during the late imperial and early Republican periods by creating a Daoism fitted for the new nation-state. It is now reasserting itself since the 1980s for a new and vigorous revival amidst contemporary China's increasingly market economy and social change. All of these changes deserve to be examined as fragments of one continuous history of Quanzhen adapting to its context.

Liu Xun, History, History, Rutgers University
Quanzhen Expands Learning 全真廣學: The Xuanmiao Monastery and the Local Modern Education and Other Reforms in Late Qing and Early Republican Nanyang

Fang Ling, Institute of Advanced Chinese Studies, College de France, Paris
Medicine, Healing and the Revival of the Quanzhen Fuxing guan on Yuhuangshan, Hangzhou

Kang Xiaofei, Modern Languages, Carnegie Mellon University
Struggles in Paradise on Earth: Quanzhen Daoists and "Cultural Tourism" at China's Ethnic Borderland

David Palmer, Cultural and Religious Studies, ÉFEO, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Globalization and the Quanzhen Daoists

Richard Madsen, Sociology, UC San Diego
Susan Naquin, History and East Asian Studies, Princeton

4:00 pm - Tea break

Special Session: Current research projects by participants
4:30 pm
Conclusions, discussion of publication
5:30 pm



The conference "Quanzhen Daoism in Modern Chinese Society and Culture: An International Symposium 全真道與近現代中國社會和文化: 國際學術研討會" will be held in the Alumni House, UC Berkeley.

Campus map

Directions to the Alumni House

The Alumni House is located in the southwest region of campus. Please find the Alumni House in section D3 of this campus map.


If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). When you leave the BART station, walk south down Shattuck Avenue to Bancroft Avenue (two or three blocks depending on which station exit you leave from) and turn left. Walk three blocks to Dana Street and turn left onto campus. The Alumni House will be on your right, across from Haas Pavilion.

From Interstate 80

To reach the site by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east to Oxford Street and turn right. Oxford becomes Fulton Street in a couple of blocks. Turn left onto Durant Avenue, then left onto Telegraph Avenue. Turn left onto Bancroft Avenue. The Alumni House is located on campus, closest to the intersection of Bancroft Avenue and Dana Street. The Alumni House is located across from Hass Pavilion.

From Highways 24/13

To reach us from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at Telegraph and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way and turn left. The Alumni House is located on campus, closest to the intersection of Bancroft Avenue and Dana Street. The Alumni House is located across from Hass Pavilion.

Directions to campus are also available at www.berkeley.edu/visitors/traveling.html


There are various public parking lots and facilities near campus and in downtown Berkeley. This list includes municipal and privately owned parking lots and garages open to the public. Please consult signs for hours and fees prior to entering the facilities.

For parking near the Alumni House, we recommend the following lots:

  • MLK Student Union Garage (Bancroft Way, between Telegraph Ave. and Dana St.)
  • Sather Gate Garage (two blocks south from the UC Berkeley Campus. One-half block west of Telegraph Avenue, with entrances on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way).

More information is available on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation page.