HDS 3009

Religious Women in Pre-Modern China

Hsiao-wen Cheng


This course examines gender (especially notions of the feminine and the sexed bodies) in pre-modern Chinese religions, the mutual impact between religious women and Chinese society from early to late imperial times, and explores strategies to read writings about religious women from pre-modern China. We will read modern scholarship on this subject as well as primary texts in translation: Buddhist and Daoist hagiographies, anecdotes, temple gazetteers and inscriptions, and relevant records in other types of sources. Basic knowledge of Chinese religions and history will be introduced in order to facilitate discussion. Students will learn, through the case of pre-modern China, how religion can be used both to reinforce and to challenge gender norms, and how gender often plays critical and constitutive roles in religious traditions.

Enrollment Limited: Limited to 15 students. Instructor's permission required.
Open to BTI Students: Yes


0.50 credits
Fall 2013
Mon 2pm-4pm
Rockefeller Hall Room 116

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • Buddhist Studies
  • East Asian Religious Studies
  • Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion
MDiv Distribution Category/ies
  • East Asian Religions
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry None
Language Course Designation(s) None