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Indian and Chinese Religions Compared Unit

Call for Proposals

Call for Papers AAR 2022:

The Indian and Chinese Religions Compared Unit
We invite proposals from a wide range of disciplinary approaches exploring connections between and perspectives from the diverse traditions, regions, topics, and periods of Indian and Chinese religions. We encourage individual and panel submissions that address:

Buddhist visual culture – Influences between Indian and Chinese art.
We encourage proposals on Buddhist visual or material culture and the interplay between texts, images, and rituals of Buddhism within the context of its transmission from India to China up until the 11th century CE. The main focus should involve either comparing Indian and Chinese Buddhist visual and/or material cultures or aspects of either culture reflecting transmitted influences.
To express interest to submit a paper proposal please contact Dessi Vendova (

History of Emotions in India and China
While attention to the history of emotions has increased in Europe in recent decades, primarily focused on its history in Europe, the rich traditions of India and China on the subject have received less attention, though deserved. For instance, in India aesthetics and rasa theory in contrast to ascetic and meditative analysis of positive and negative emotions permeate cultural sensibilities. The model of “seven emotions” (or drives) in ancient China diversified over the centuries, including incorporating Buddhist models, medical theories, etc. We invite proposals on the history of emotions in India and/or China. If interested in submitting a proposal, please contact Esther-Maria Guggenmos (

The ‘Qizil Yoga Manual’ and Yogic Meditation on the Silk Road
The ‘Qizil Yoga Manual’ (also called 'Yogalehrbuch') is a Buddhist text on meditation from c. 4th-6th century CE, found in the Kucha region on the northern Silk Road, and pieced together from manuscript fragments by Dieter Schlingloff in the 1960s. This panel topic invites proposals that relate to the ‘Qizil Yoga Manual’ itself or the transmission of Indian texts on and knowledge of meditation or yogic-related practices into China. To express interest to submit a paper proposal please contact Karen O’Brien-Kop (

Contemporary Spiritual Technologies in Indian and Chinese Contexts
How do popular contemporary practices in the Indian and Chinese worlds draw selectively on earlier traditions, adapt techniques from outside Asia, or develop something new? What roles are played by aspects of modern life, such as cultural identity, scientific discourse, political currents, national borders, and transnational flows? Are these techniques and technologies distinctly local, or do they reflect larger international forces and concerns? And does it make sense to think in terms of “the spiritual” in these contexts at all? To enhance panel cohesion and interaction, participants in this panel will engage in discussion and mutual feedback in the months leading up to the conference.
To express interest to submit a paper proposal please contact Jon Keune (

Responses to Catastrophe/Disaster in India and China
To link with the presidential theme of “catastrophe” at AAR 2022, this panel invites proposals that discuss how themes and events of catastrophe and disaster have been responded to in the religious discourses, texts and practices of India and China. Proposals can address themes and perspectives in historical and/or modern contexts.
To express interest to submit a paper proposal please contact: Eyal Aviv and Karen O’Brien-Kop
( and

Please direct any general unit enquiries to the co-chairs: Eyal Aviv and Karen O’Brien-Kop
( and

Statement of Purpose

This Unit draws together scholars who study the religions of India and China in discrete or comparative frames. Given the increasing global importance of China and India in the contemporary world, this unit serves as an important forum for sustained discussion of their religio-cultural relationship in historical and modern contexts. Our panels can connect scholars working on diverse traditions, regions, and eras who otherwise might not have the opportunity to learn from each other. Interested members are encouraged to join our (low volume) email list by contacting the co-chairs.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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

Review Process Comments

Some people contacted the co-chairs prior to their submissions to inquire about whether their proposals fit the parameters of the CFPs.