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Translating Islamic Knowledge in China


Kristian Petersen (Philosophy and Religious Studies, Old Dominion University)

A distinctive Chinese Islamic intellectual tradition emerged during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Chinese Muslims established an educational system, scripture hall education (jingtang jiaoyu 經堂教育), which utilized an Islamic curriculum made up of Arabic, Persian, and Chinese works. The Han Kitab, a corpus of Chinese language Islamic texts developed within this system, reinterpreted Islam through the religio-philosophical lens of Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian terminology. Several Han Kitab texts were produced by a group of self-identified “Confucian Muslim” scholars (Huiru 回儒). This presentation traces the contours of this Sino-Islamic intellectual tradition and key Han Kitab authors.

About the speaker:

Kristian Petersen is an associate professor in the department of philosophy and religious studies at Old Dominion University. His research focuses on “Muslim Cinema” and Islam in China. He is the author and editor of 5 books and numerous articles and essays. He also serves as a podcast host for the American Academy of Religion's Religious Studies News and the New Books Network.

He is a founding advisory board member of the Introductions to Digital Humanities: Religion series published with De Gruyter, and currently serves as editor for the “Religion, Culture, and History” series, published with Oxford University Press in association with the American Academy of Religion.