At the University of Groningen I am also Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia.
Established by Dr. Peter Berger and myself, the Centre has been envisioned as a research centre, the intellectual home for the members of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen who do research on religion and culture of Asia and the research students of the same Faculty who are writing their dissertations on similar topics; the Centre also welcomes members of other Faculties within the University, as well as from other institutions to be associate fellows.
The guiding principle of the Centre is that only constructive dialogue and cooperation among scholars can advance knowledge. In line with this, the Centre is meant to offer a venue and occasions for scholars from various institutions in the world to gather, exchange views, combine different methodologies and approaches, revise and innovate theories and methods in the field, and contribute to produce interdisciplinary academic scholarship.
So far the Centre hosts six research projects:
- Textuality in East Asian Buddhism (coordinated by myself);
- Religion and the Media in East Asia (coordinated by Dr. Erica Baffelli and myself);
- Critical Concepts and Methods for the Study of Religion in Modern China (coordinated by Dr. Scott Pacey and myself);
- Religion, Culture and Society of Indian “Tribal” (Adivasi) Communities (coordinated by Dr. Peter Berger);
- History and Theory of the Anthropology of India (coordinated by Dr. Peter Berger);
- Continuity and Contestation in Defining Tibetan Religious Traditions, Histories and Communities (coordinated by Prof. Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa).
The results of the research work conducted in the Centre are delivered in seminars and conferences, and published in peer-reviewed journals and monographs.
The Colloquium on Asian Religions represents the regular seminar of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia, and aims to present new findings in the study of religion and culture in areas like South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia. It is a forum for discussing the conceptualization of religion in Asia as well as aspects of Asian religions from the perspectives of anthropology, history, sociology, political science and other disciplines.