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The East Asian cultural sphere has figured prominently in recent collections of research on new religious movements (e.g. Pokorny and Winter 2018, Clart, Ownby and Wang 2020), Theosophy (e.g. Rudbog and Sand 2020, Krämer and Strube 2020) and global therapeutic cultures (e.g. Nehring et al. 2020, Harrington 2008), while it continues to attract the attention of scholars working on civil society (e.g. Read and Pekkanen 2009) and self-help movements (e.g. Cliff et al. 2017, Palmer 2007).
But, although we are often aware of the complex entanglements between these seemingly separate areas of interest, we seldom have the opportunity to discuss such entanglements in and beyond East Asia.
At the same time, in the last twenty years, significant scholarship has been published in East Asia on this topic (recent books include Yoshinaga et al. 2019, Ichiyanagi 2020, Imura and Hamano 2021 in Japan, Zheng 2018, Zhang 2020 in China and Cheon Myeong-soo 2009, Park Seung-gil et al. 2019 in South Korea).
This conference aims to offer such a chance by inviting academic contributions to reflect on the intertwined relationship between spirituality, healthcare and social movements in East Asia from a trans-national/local/cultural perspective. As a time of unprecedented changes and accelerated global interactions, our focus lies on the period between the nineteenth to the twentieth-first centuries.
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