Katherine Alexander is an Assistant Professor of Chinese at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research focuses on popular religious literature of the late Qing, specifically looking at works that spread during and after the Taiping Civil War, when religious-motivated conflict threatened to collapse the empire from within even as concurrently the Second Opium War threaten the empire from without. Most of this literature appealed to traditional religious values held common among Buddhists, Daoists, and Confucians, forming a conservative backlash against destabilizing forces of religious and social change. During and after the wars, these stories were one way, among many others, that some feeling lost in the face of national crises sought stability, by rebuilding the moral foundations of their shared culture along with the reconstruction of homes, farms, and villages. Alexander is currently working on a book manuscript exploring this literature and its contexts in greater detail, based on her 2016 Ph.D. dissertation “Virtues of the Vernacular: Moral Reconstruction in Late Qing Jiangnan and the Revitalization of Baojuan.”

Last Updated: September 27, 2018



Should the Vatican Compromise with China?

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Amidst a crackdown on Christianity in China, on September 22 the Vatican and Beijing provisionally reached a major agreement: Pope Francis will recognize seven excommunicated bishops Beijing appointed, in exchange for more influence on who Beijing...