Indian and Chinese religious networks in South-East Asia

Indian and Chinese religious networks in South-East Asia

Under the directorship of Kenneth Dean and Peter van der Veer

This project is in collaboration with the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore

Network, as used in this project, is nothing more than a descriptive term for the net-like ties that link people locally, regionally, nationally, and transnationally. These networks can be based on ‘natural’ ties, such as kinship, or on extensions of such ties, as in ethnicity, but they also can be based on rituals and traditions of belief and practice. This project focuses on how religion enables the movement of people from South India and from South China to South-East Asia (especially Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore). One of the important elements of these studies is to show the specific ways in which religions enable, as well as limit, specific forms of networking across South-East Asia. Another important aspect is the comparison of Chinese patterns of connecting business and religious networking and Indian patterns of doing that. The project studies the historical evolution, the internal organization, the flow of investment, modes of philanthropy, as well as forms of ritual activity that characterize these networks. It seeks to build on efforts to disaggregate national and regional frameworks, and to explore specific axes of circulation and exchange across regions, leading to the creation of new social formations across the entire range of Asian connection.

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