Taiwan Studies Programme

National Identity, Cultural Heritage, and Revelation in a Taiwanese New Religion

C11 Monica Partridge Building, hybrid event - online and in person
Wednesday 22nd June 2022 (12:30-15:00)

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The University of Nottingham's Taiwan Studies Programme presents a talk on National Identity, Cultural Heritage, and Revelation in a Taiwanese New Religion by Dr Benjamin Penny, Associate Professor at The Australian National University. 

Hybrid mode: Streamed online and speaker on campus in person in Room C11 Monica Partridge Building, University Park

12:30-13:30 lunch provided in Room C11 Monica Partridge Building, University Park
13:30-15:00 talk starts online and in Room C11 Monica Partridge Building, University Park

In this talk he will examine how the Taiwanese new religion Weixin Shengjiao 唯心聖教 understands its relationships to deep Chinese tradition as well as to its specifically Taiwanese character. The core of the religion lies in the three elements of the Book of Changes (Yijing 易經), geomancy (fengshui 風水), and the teachings (zong 宗), and regards the originator of its doctrines as Fuxi 伏羲, the legendary progenitor of the Chinese people. At the same time, the religion’s founder is Taiwanese-speaking and comes from Nantou county, and he declares places on the island of Taiwan (which they regard as a “pure land”) as especially sacred. In order to explore this fascinating conjunction, he will discuss the religion’s primary scripture, some episodes in the founder’s life, and their activities and establishments in Taiwan.

Speaker biography 

Benjamin Penny is a historian of religions in China  and Taiwan who has worked on medieval China, the nineteenth century and contemporary times. His is the author of  The Religion of Falun Gong (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012) and A Young Englishman in Victorian Hong Kong (forthcoming, ANU Press) as well as being the editor of several volumes of essays, including Religion in Taiwan and China: Locality and Transmission (with Chang Hsun, Institute for Ethnology, Academia Sinica, 2017). Penny studied at the Universities of Sydney, Cambridge, Peking and the ANU. He was the Director of the Australian Centre on China in the World from 2016–2018 and is currently Senior Research Fellow there, as well as Associate Professor in the School of Culture, History and Language in the College of Asia and the Pacific. He is also head of the ANU Taiwan Studies Program.


Taiwan Studies Programme

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD