Symposium 2006:

November 30th—December 2nd, 2006

The present symposium aims to bring together leading Sinologists and Japanologists from around the world engaged in research on the history of Christianity in Japan and in China . It takes as its point of departure the 400 th anniversary of the death of Alessandro Valignano, S.J. (1539–1606), one of the first Europeans to articulate a clear policy of religious and cultural engagement with the civilizations of China and Japan .

This symposium aims to foster a comparative and interdisciplinary approach by adopting a format that includes both short formal papers and interactive panel discussions. This will allow scholars not only to present their own research but also to explore jointly with other specialists the similarities and differences between newly emerging models of Christianity among the Japanese and the Chinese. Each panel will focus on a specific theme that illustrates and compares the elaboration and development of new expressions of Christian culture in the two countries.

More specifically, scholars will concentrate on early Christian texts in translation, works of art, the development of new forms of Christian ritual, local community organization, etc ., in late Ming China and Warring States / early Tokugawa Japan ( ca . 1543–1644). Such modes of interaction with local cultures, while originally relying on European models, were adapted over time by the missionaries and prominent local Christians to and transformed by the East Asian cultural matrix. How these processes evolved historically in Japan and in China will be the main focus of the symposium. A number of scholars will also explore the unique role played by Macau, the port-city that was at the diplomatic, economic, and religious crossroads between East Asia and Europe and that facilitated these encounters between faith and culture. The official languages of the symposium will be English, (Mandarin) Chinese, and Japanese. Simultaneous translation will be provided. Please check this website periodically for further detailed information and updates.

Organising Institutions:

Ricci Institute (USF Center for the Pacific Rim)
Jesuit Historical Institute in Rome
The Macau Ricci Institute


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