Taiwanese Buddhism and its Internationalization Strategies (guojihua) since the 1980s

Name: Jens Reinke 黃穎思
Email: jens.reinke [at] uni-leipzig.de
Thema: Taiwanese Buddhism and its Internationalization Strategies (guojihua) since the 1980s

My research project is associated with the Collaborative Research Consortium (SFB) 1199: “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”.

I will examine a Taiwanese Buddhist organization’s internationalization efforts in Africa. Particular attention will be paid to the development of new spatial formats resulting from the organization’s engagement with the local culture.

The organization’s transition from a provider of religious services to a diasporic community to a proselytizer of Chinese Buddhism in particular and Chinese culture in general, requires the translation of doctrines and religious practices. The resulting exchange of ideas and personnel between Africa and Taiwan creates hybrid spatial formats that differ from those based on common business interactions.

I aim to critically challenge conceptions of center and periphery and explore the related dynamics of control and decentralization by looking at the transnational structures and local engagements of a religious representative of the sinophone world in Africa.

My research can be situated in the context of studies about contemporary Taiwanese/Chinese Buddhism, but also touches on an under-studied aspect of the research about the expanding political and economic relations between the Chinese speaking world and Africa.