Projects RDD

Itineraries of arrival and revival: transregional religiosities in Singapore and Sri Lanka

Neena Mahadev

The project extends Neena's research interests by comparing two countries which conceive of religious protection, majority and minority rights, and the value of inter-religious harmony, in radically different ways. The study tracks flows of Buddhist and Christian influence between Sri Lanka and Singapore. The ethnographic work involves a multi-pronged study of diasporic Sri Lankan Buddhist practices in Singapore, and diasporic Sri Lankan Pentecostalism in Singapore. It also involves study of inter-ethnic, 'non-sectarian,' Anglophone Buddhist organizations, which consist primarily of Straights-Chinese (Chinese Singaporeans) devoted to the Dhamma. Preliminary observations indicate that (a major strand of) Buddhist revivalism in Singapore hinges upon Chinese Singaporeans’ attraction to the Dhamma as taught in English by Therāvāda Buddhist teachers, despite having been raised in Mahāyāna and Daoist traditions.


This project is part of the Religious Diversity Department’s collaboration on Indian and Chinese Religious Networks in Southeast Asia.