UCL Urban Laboratory


Shanghai Sacred

11 October 2018, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Shanghai Sacred book cover image / Animal Release gathering 2015 by Liz Hingley

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IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, UCL, London WC1E 6BT

UCL Institute of Advanced Studies will host the book launch of 'Shanghai Sacred: The Religious Landscape of a Global City'.

Shanghai, a dynamic world metropolis of 24 million inhabitants, is famous for its economic dynamism and architectural daring. It has become synonymous with present-day consumerism. But at the same time Shanghai is at the forefront of China's unprecedented religious revival, rooted in history, irrigated by the spiritual currents of globalisation and continuously revived by the limitless inventiveness of its population. Shanghai is home to a multitude of religions, from Buddhism and Islam, to Christianity and Baha'ism, to Hinduism and Daoism, and many more.

'Shanghai Sacred' explores the spaces, rituals, and daily practices that make up the religious landscape of the city, offering a new paradigm for the study of Chinese spirituality that reflects the global trends shaping Chinese culture and civil society. Evocative photographs of ritual moments in urban life and bespoke maps interact with and strengthen the narrative, making the book an innovative contribution to visual methodologies. 

This in-depth work is the result of an intensive three-year collaborative research project led by Professor Benoît Vermander, of the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Center at Fudan University, photographer/anthropologist Liz Hingley and Zhang Liang of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Providing the first thorough investigation of religious practices in a Chinese city, Shanghai Sacred is published by Washington University Press.

Author and photographer Liz Hingley, will introduce the book reflecting on her contributions as a photographer and anthropologist. There will then be a panel discussion with Dr Katherine Swancutt, Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Religion at Kings College London and Dr Clare Melhuish, Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory, chaired by Professor Claire Dwyer of UCL Geography. The panel will be followed by a drinks reception. 

All welcome. 

Please note that there may be photography and/or audio recording at some events and that admission is on a first come first served basis. Please follow this FAQ link for more information.

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