Religious Transformation in Asian History

Religion Conference

Asian history and culture have been profoundly influenced by a number of religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Islam, Sikhism, Shamanism, and Shintō). These traditions offer spiritual guidelines but also set moral and ethical standards for the daily life of people in Asian countries. The formation of cultures of communities across the region was informed by regional religious traditions. However, their social structures were challenged by the wave of colonialism and imperialism in the modern era. Just as Western modernisation affected society, politics, law, culture, customs, and ways of thinking in Asia, it also influenced the domestic conditions of traditional religions. They became either weak and irrelevant or they transformed in order to survive. Many new religious movements also emerged as alternatives. What were the key issues in the colonial environment of Asia? How did local religious communities react against modernisation? What modes of religious existence prevailed: consistency, transformation, or compromise? The primary aim of the ANU Religion Conference is to explore the various phenomena of socio-religious transitions in Asian history. The religiosity of Asian people is used as a new perspective by which Asian modernisation can be re-interpreted in a fresh way.

Fields of Research: • Theory and Methods • New Religious Movements • Transnational Religions • Colonial Religions • Religions in East Asia • Religions in South and Southeast Asia • Sociology of Asian Religions • Religious Education • Religious Canons • Religion and Politics • Religion and Media • Religion and Women • Religion, Arts, and Science • Buddhism • Hinduism • Islam • Shamanism • Christianity • Japanese Religions

The conference fee is AU $350, but for doctoral candidates and early career researchers who do not have full-time positions the fee will be AU $250. The conference cost includes registration fee, conference dinner, and coffee breaks. There will be limited bursary for some accepted doctoral candidates and early career researchers. In addition, the selected papers may be published in a book volume.

Contacts: Prof John Powers (Australian National University) Email:

Dr David W. Kim (Australian National University) Email:

Dr Peter Friedlander (Australian National University) Email:

Date & time

Thursday 07 April 2016 to Saturday 09 April 2016



Multiple Speakers


John Powers

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster