Chinese Spirituality and Society Program

The Chinese Spirituality and Society Program (CSSP), based at the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University and supported by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, is to support well-designed research projects on Chinese spirituality and society, organize training workshops for the grantees to carry out robust social scientific research on religion in Chinese society, and sponsor summer institutes for teaching the sociology of religion at Chinese universities.  We hope the CSSP will generate new findings of religion in China, nourish the spirit of creativity and international collaboration among Chinese scholars, and enhance scholarly understanding of Chinese spirituality and society both in China and the West. 

The central component of this program is to provide a total of $500,000 of research grants to Chinese scholars through an open Request for Proposal (RFP) competition.  We plan to award 2 or 3 large grants to research centers and about 10 grants to individual projects.  The research center grants are to support well-designed research projects at research centers or institutes that have evident institutional support from the university and/or other relevant authorities.  The research center grants vary in amount from $50,000 up to $100,000 depending upon the value of the project and actual costs, and will be awarded to the institution.  The individual grants, which may vary from $10,000 up to $30,000, are to support well-designed projects conducted by one or two researchers.  All of the grantees will be selected in two stages:  First, applicants should submit 3-page Letters of Intent (LOIs) briefly describing their proposed projects.  A panel of judges will review and evaluate the LOIs and will select about 30 most promising applicants to invite to submit full proposals.  Second, a panel of judges will review and evaluate the full proposals and recommend the strongest to receive the grants.
The CSSP will organize three intensive training workshops.  The first workshop is to be held in China in summer 2010 for the selected 30 applicants based on the LOIs, and the workshop will focus on research design and proposal writing.  The second and third workshops will be held at Purdue University in summer 2011 and 2012 for the grantees, and will focus on the research method, data collection, data analysis, and writing for scholarly journals and monographs.  A final conference will be held in 2013 to disseminate the findings of the funded projects.

The CSSP will also sponsor the annual Summer Institute for teaching the sociology of religion in 2010 to 2012.  The participants of the Summer Institute will be selected on a competitive basis among faculty members at Chinese universities that have been offering or plan to offer sociology of religion courses.  The Summer Institute is to facilitate these scholars to develop sociology of religion courses on both undergraduate and graduate levels. 

The CSSP also plans to publish an annual volume of the social scientific study of religion, which may include research articles by Chinese scholars and translated articles originally published in the West.

A Discourse on the Research on Religion and Society
LI Xiangping / East China Normal University

A Reflection on the Three-Year Project
Zhidong Hao / University of Macau

Constructing Contemporary Chinese Christianity and Civic Community: A Study of Four Types of Churches in Beijing
Fuk-tsang Ying / The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Funded Projects

After several rounds of comprehensive review and evaluation by 14 judges, the following CSSP projects are funded by the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University.

Center Project

  • An Empirical Study on the Belief of Citizens in Yangtze River Delta
    Center for Religion and Society at East China Normal University (Director: LI Xiangping)
Individual Projects


  • Folk Religion and Local Community: Field Researches on Three Villages in Hunan Province
    CHEN Bin (Hunan Normal University)
  • Operation and Impact of Grey Religion Market in Rural Heilongjiang Province: an Empirical Study Based on Social Capital
    FAN Zhihui (Heilongjiang University)
  • Chinese Religions as a Resource in Construction of Civic Identity: A Comparative Study of Chinese Believer Groups
    FANG Wen (Peking University)
  • Traditional Religions and Christianity and Chinese Entrepreneurship——A Case Study of the Private Entrepreneur Communities in Fuzhou and Quanzhou Cities in Fujian Province
    GAN Mantang (Fuzhou University)
  • Christianity,Confucianism and Civil Society
    HAN Heng (Zhengzhou University)
  • Catholicism and Civil Society: A Comparative Study of Privatization and De-privatization of the Catholic Church in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei
    HAO Zhidong (University of Macau)
  • A Research on the Influence of Religious Group on Social Integration of Migrant Rural Workers-Based on the Investigation on the Urban Christian and the Budhist Groups in Shanghai and Southern Jiangsu
    HUANG Haibo (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences)
  • Religious Market Theory and China’s Rural Christianities: Sociological Case Studies of Catholicism in Middle Hebei
    LIU Fang (Shanghai University of Political Science and Law)
  • A Study of the Impact of Islam on the Political Participation of the Peasants in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
    LUO Qiangqiang (Ningxia University)
  • Identity, Organization, and Faith Going Public: Christians’ Civic Participation in Transitional China
    MA Li (Calvin College)
  • The Attitudes of University Students in Beijing Toward Christianity
    SUN Shangyang (Peking University)
  • Religious Belief and Civic Culture: Based on a Comparison Between Groups of Christianity and Buddhism in the Central Plains
    WANG Ying (Henan University of Economics & Law)
  • Religious Organizations’ Self-Governance, Openness, and Civility: Case Study of a Christian Church in Beijing
    YING Fuktsang (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • A Study of the Occurrence and Development of “Religion Fever” in China’s Countryside
    ZHENG Fengtian (Renmin University)
  • The Institutionalization of Christian Communities and Their Social Engagement: Case Studies on Two Kinds of Christian Institutions in Beijing
    ZHONG Zhifeng (Baylor University, USA)
  • Capital along with Faith: A Study on the Charitable Behavior of the Private Entrepreneurs of Wenzhou, China
    ZHOU Yi (Fudan University)