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Unit information: Chinese Religions: Practices and Beliefs in 2020/21

Unit name Chinese Religions: Practices and Beliefs
Unit code THRS20221
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lomi
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit offers an overview of the key practices beliefs systems of China. Through lectures, discussion of selected primary sources and secondary scholarship, as well as screening of documentaries, we will explore those key ideas and values Chinese underpinning religious traditions and defining its cultural diversity.

Students will have the chance of working on both their seminar skills, as part of formative assessments, and on their writing skills.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Articulate an understanding of the main Chinese religious traditions (Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Popular Religions);
  2. Evaluate key Chinese beliefs and practices;
  3. Identify and present pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument; 
  4. Demonstrate skills in critical thinking, analysis, and argumentation, using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details

1 x 2000 words portfolio (formative) [ILOs 1, 2, 4]

1 x 2500-word summative essay (100%) [ILOs 2-4]

Reading and References

Ch'en, Kenneth. Buddhism in China: A Historical Survey'. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964.' Kohn, Livia. Introducing Daoism. London: Routledge, 2009. Nadeau, Randal. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Chinese Religions. Blackwell, 2012. Sun, Anna. Confucianism As a World Religion : Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013. Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui. Chinese Religiosities : Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation. Global, Area, and International Archive. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.