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Daoist Studies Unit

Call for Proposals

The Daoist Studies Unit invites proposals for the AAR Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas (November 18–21, 2023). We welcome proposals for individual papers, paper sessions, and roundtables concerning any aspects of Daoism regardless of the time period, geographical area, or methodological and theoretical approach. The proposals could be either individual papers, 90-minute paper sessions ( consisting of 3 papers, a presider, and a respondent), or roundtables (which consist of a presider and 4–6 panelists). All topics for presentations are welcome. Below are the ideas proposed at the business meeting for 2023. 


  • Daoism and technology (James Benn)
  • Neiman and daoxue (Stephen Eskildsen)
  • State of Daoist Studies
  • Daoism in the culture and realpolitik of Ming China (Michael Naparstek)
  • Hagiography and lineage creation 
  • History of Daoist Studies (Tobias Zürn)


Please contact the point person if you wish to participate in formulating these panels. Proposals on topics not listed here are more than welcome. 


We look forward to receiving proposals that are multi-disciplinary and border-crossing. As we continue to reach out to other program units and promote dialogue between different fields, we strongly encourage applicants to submit their proposals to Daoist Studies and one additional program unit. A complete list of AAR program Units can be found at (


The Daoist Studies Unit steadfastly supports diversity and inclusivity. We require all pre-arranged panels to incorporate a diversity of gender, ethnicity, seniority, sub-field, and/or methodology. 

Please feel free to contact the co-chairs for additional information. 

Statement of Purpose

The Daoist Studies Unit organizes the most consistent venue in North America for sharing research on the Daoist religion. We are guided by a vision with three main goals: to reach into the vast recesses of the largely understudied Daoist tradition; to reach out in conversation with the broader American Academy of Religion, and to promote the Annual Meeting of the AAR as an international venue for sharing and vetting research by all levels of Daoism scholars. Since early 2021, the Daoist Studies Unit has also been hosting regular online presentations and workshops throughout the year under the rubric of the Global Daoist Studies Forum.


  • Jessey Choo, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
    1/1/2018 - 12/31/2023
  • Tobias Zürn, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028

Steering Committee Members


Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members