The Fairbank Center recognizes the importance of religion as a way to understand people and society. This is especially true in a religious ecosystem as complex as China’s. Throughout the year, the Center hosts talks and workshops dedicated to exploring facets of the religious experience in China, both past and present.


Michael A. Szonyi
Michael A. Szonyi

Michael A. Szonyi 宋怡明

Director of the Fairbank Center; Professor of Chinese History

Michael Szonyi is Director of the Fairbank Center at Harvard University and Professor of Chinese History in Harvard’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Department of History.

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CGIS South Building | 1730 Cambridge Street | Cambridge MA 02138
James Robson
James Robson

James Robson

Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

James Robson is Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. He is the Director of Undergraduate Studies, East Asian Studies, and has served as Director of Graduate Studies for the Regional Studies East Asia M.A. program.

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2 Divinity Avenue | Cambridge MA, 02138
leonard van derkuijp
leonard van derkuijp

Leonard van der Kuijp 范德康

Professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies

Leonard van der Kuijp is professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies and chairs the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies. Best known for his studies of Buddhist epistemology, he is the author of numerous works on Tibet and TibetanRead More

Department of South Asian Studies | Inner Asian and Altaic Studies | 1 Bow St. | Cambridge
Janet Gyatso
Janet Gyatso

Janet Gyatso

Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies

Professor Janet Gyatso is a specialist in Buddhist studies with concentration on Tibetan and South Asian cultural and intellectual history.

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Divinity 419 | Cambridge MA, 02138

Research Projects

Digging up the Chinese Dead

This workshop, in December of 2015, worked to shed empirical, methodological, and theoretical light on the often murky topic of displacement in death. Presentations by a scholars from across the country asked about the interplay between Chinese societies, economic and social dislocation, state-building imperatives, and other moments of extreme change. Together these scholars grappled with the question of how the dead featured in these moments of change and what this can tell us about China in the past and present.

Understanding Religious Change in China: Connecting History and Anthropology

As part of the Fairbank Center’s annual Chinese Religions Seminar series, scholars of Chinese religion came together in February 2016 to discuss the intersection between religion and history in China. Presenters, including the Fairbank Center’s director, Michael Szonyi, covered topics that ranged from the creation of ethnic religion to ritual processes in China.

Upcoming Events

Mar 05

Eric Greene – Repentance in the Formation of Chinese Buddhism

March 5 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Cambridge MA
United States


Latest News

Fairbank Center Talks at AAS 2018

The 2018 Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference is in Washington D.C. this year, and as usual the Fairbank Center will be well-represented on a wide-range of panels. Below are panels featuring our faculty and current Harvard Ph.D. Candidates working on China,...

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Fall 2017 Courses on China

FRESHMEN SEMINAR FRSEMR 71D: Zen and the Art of Living: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary James Robson This seminar explores the rich history, philosophy and practices of Zen Buddhism as it developed in China, Korea, and Japan. We will first consider the emergence of...

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Resources at Harvard

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Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies