Redemptive Society and Cold War: Tongshanshe (Fellowship of Goodness) in Zhejiang, Fujian, and Taiwan, 1949-1978

Nov 14 12:00–1:30pm
Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA

Roger Shih-Chieh Lo (Associate Professor, National Taiwan University; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2019-20)
Chair/discussant: Michael Szonyi (Frank Wen-Hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History, Harvard University)

Co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Throughout the 20th century, the two most influential redemptive societies in Chinese local society, Tongshanshe (Fellowship of Goodness) and Yiguangdao (Persistent way) both suffered various level of crackdown from different regimes. From fieldwork and local archives, however, it is evident that these two redemptive societies played a very important political role in local society. In this talk of the development of Tongshanshe in Zhejiang, Fujian and Taiwan during the cold war, I will discuss the following three questions: first, what is the significance of this redemptive society in local society during the cold war? Secondly, besides the suppression of evil cults from the government, what are the other undisclosed political interactions we can find from these local popular associations and national, or even international, politics? Finally, what kind of new explanation about post-1949 history can be found from this local history study?