Francesca TAROCCO

Professoressa Ordinaria
Delegata della Direttrice alla Faculty Integration
Direttrice del Comitato Scientifico del Centro "THE NEW INSTITUTE: Centre for Environmental Humanities (NICHE)"
041 234 7845 / 041 234 8872
E-mail - THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities
Sito web (scheda personale)
Dipartimento di Studi sull'Asia e sull'Africa Mediterranea
Sito web struttura:
Sede: Palazzo Vendramin
THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities (NICHE) (Direttrice Centro)
Sito web struttura:
Research Institute
Research Institute for Digital and Cultural Heritage
Research Institute
Research Institute for International Studies

Francesca Tarocco


Curriculum Vitae

September 2021


Areas of expertise


East Asia (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong), Buddhism, Chinese religion, history and historical consciousness, urban Asia, visual culture, religion and media, environmental history, sound, technology, archives.



Academic degrees

Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Laurea in Chinese Studies

SOAS, University of London, MA in Chinese Studies

SOAS, University of London, PhD in Buddhism and Chinese History


Italian National Scientific Qualification (Asn)

Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale a Professore di I Fascia (Italian National Scientific Qualification to Full Professor), 10/N3 Culture dell’Asia Centrale e Orientale, 2017


Current Academic Appointment

Full Professor (Professore Ordinario) of Buddhist Studies and Chinese Religions, Department of Asian and North African Studies, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

Director of NICHE (The New Institute Centre For Environemtal Humanities)

Previous Academic Appointments

2014—2016    Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures, New York University Shanghai

2011—2014    Assistant Professor of Chinese Visual and Religious Culture, New York University Shanghai

2002—2010    Lecturer in Buddhist Studies, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, The University of Manchester

1998—2002    Lecturer in Chinese Religions, Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), The University of London

2001—2002    Lecturer in East Asian Buddhism (Adjunct Professor), Department of East Asian Studies, The University of Edinburgh


Visiting Professorships

2016—present           Visiting Professor of Buddhist Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, New York University Shanghai, New York University

Summer 2014 Visiting Professor, New Asia College, Chinese University Hong Kong

Summer 2013      Visiting Professor, Asian Pacific American Institute, New York University


Awards, Honors and Fellowships

2015—ongoing           Affiliated Faculty, Centre for Global Asia, New York University Shanghai

2013—on-going          Global Asia Pacific Art Exchange (GAX) Fellow, Asian/Pacific/American Institute, New York University

2016—2018                Institute for Advanced Studies, New York University, Critical Collaborations Fellow

March 2015                 NYU Shanghai Provost Award for the International Symposium “Moving Objects: Authorship, Ownership and Experience in Buddhist material culture” (April 22-24, 2015)

August 2015               House of World Cultures Fellowship, Arts and Humanities Research Network for Transcultural Perspectives (RNTP), House of World Cultures, Berlin, November 23-30, 2015

2011—2014                Global Faculty Development Grant, New York University Project: “Shanghai Studies Research Initiative”, with Anna Greenspan

2012—2014                Research and Travel Grants, The Terra Foundation, New York

Summer 2012             Conference Grant, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Summer 2010             Conference Grant, Dharma Drum Foundation, Taiwan

2009—2010                Research Grant, University of Manchester, Project: “Famine, Humanitarianism and the ‘Chinese crisis’: 1860-1911”, Co-investigator with Bertrand Taithe

2005—2008               The Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship Project: “Printing and Praying: The Making of Religious Identities in Modern China”, Principal Investigator

2004                            Workshop Grant, Asia Europe Foundation and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2000-2003                   The Sutasoma Trust Fellowship Project: “The Buddhist Press in Shanghai”, Principal Investigator

2001- 2003                  The Spalding Trust, Project: “The Religious Press in Archives in Shanghai and Hangzhou, Principal Investigator

1997—1998                The University of London Central Research Fund Award, Doctoral Fellowship

Summer 1998              Jordan Trust Fellowship, Department of the Study of Religions, SOAS (May-September 1998)

1994—1995                Research Fellowship, Center for Religious Studies, Sichuan University (Chinese Ministry of Education)




ORCID: 0000-0002-6918-8940

SCOPUS ID: 26322728300


Monographs and Edited Volumes


1.     Altar Modern: Buddhism and Technology in the Chinese Digital Age (forthcoming with Routledge c. 300 p. and 30 illustrations).


2.   Making Images: A Cultural History of Buddhist Images in Modern China (manuscript in preparation for Columbia University Press, c. 250 p.).


3.     The Cultural Practices of Modern Chinese Buddhism: Attuning the Dharma, London and New York: Routledge, 2011, xii +183 p.

[REVIEWS AND NOTICES by M. Gunzel in Journal of Chinese Religions (2008); H.S. Tan in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (October 2009); C. B. Jones in History of Religions (May 2010); J. Ritzinger in Journal of Buddhist Ethics (February 2010); T. Mullin in Relegere (2012); T. Borchert in Religious Studies Review (March 2012)]


4.     Made in China: Nuovi Scrittori Cinesi with Cosima Bruno, (Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 2008).


5.     Karaokeka suru sekai, Japanese Translation of Karaoke: The Global Phenomenon (Tokyo: Seidosha, 2008).


6.   Karaoke: The Global Phenomenon with Zhou Xun, (Chicago: Chicago University Press; London: Reaktion Books 224 p., 60 color illustrations).[1]

[REVIEWS AND NOTICES in, among others: Booklist, The New Statesman, The Guardian (Steven Poole), The International Journal of Communication, Boston Globe, USA TODAY, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Berliner Literaturkritik, Manchester Evening News, Manchester Daily Star, LiveScience, BBC NEWS, BBC RADIO 4: ‘THINKING ALLOWED’, ‘YOU AND YOURS, BBC WORLD SERVICE: NEWSHOUR, Radio New Zealand National, AUSTRALIA National Radio, RADIO DUBLIN, IRELAND, SWISS National Television]



Major Editorial Works


Senior Editor for China of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Buddhism (online, ongoing, and in print, forthcoming)


Guest co-editor of the Special Issue “Urban Poetics and Politics in Asia”, International Quarterly for Asian Studies, Vol. 50 (2019-20)


Guest editor, of the Special Issue on “Buddhists and the Making of Modern Chinese Societies”, Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol. 18 (2017)


Co-editor with C. Bruno of the Literary Anthology Made in China: Nuovi Scrittori Cinesi, Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 2008 (ISSN 1724-370X)


Co-Editor with F. Dunlop of China in Focus, London, 1997—1999, with Fuchsia Dunlop


Articles in Scopus and Other Refereed Journals


“Non-human Personhood across Buddhist Imaginaries: On Vegetarianism and Feng Zikai’s Paintings to Protect Life” in Annali di Ca’ Foscari, Serie Orientale (forthcoming in 2022)


“An Enchanted Modern: Urban Cultivation in Shanghai” in International Quarterly For Asian Studies vol. 51 (2020), pp. 1-19, with Anna Greenspan (ISSN 2566-286X)


“Religious Tolerance: A View from China”. Philosophy & Social Criticism vol. 45.4 (2019), pp. 469–476 (ISSN 0191-4537)


“Editorial: Urban Poetics and Politics in Asia” in International Quarterly For Asian Studies, vol. 50 (2019) pp. 5-10 (ISSN 2566-6878)


“The Buddhist Economies of Modern Urban China” in Hualin International Journal Of Buddhist Studies vol. 2.2 (2019), pp. 250-272 (ISSN 2576-2931)


“Technologies of Salvation: (Re)locating Buddhism in the Digital Age” Journal of Global Buddhism vol. 18 (2017), pp. 155-175 (ISSN 1527-6457)


“Buddhists and the Making of Modern Chinese Societies”, Journal of Global Buddhism vol. 18 (2017), pp. 68-71 (ISSN 1527-6457)


“On the Market: Consumption and Material Culture in Modern Chinese Buddhism”, Religion vol. 4 (2011), pp. 627- 644 (ISSN 0048-721X)

“Lost in Translation? The Treatise on the Mahayana Awakening of Faith (Dasheng qixin lun) and its Modern Readings”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies vol. 71 (2008) pp. 323-343 (ISSN 0041-977X)

“East Asian Religion Unmasked: A New Genealogy” Dangdai zongjiao yanjiu Contemporary Religious Studies vol. 4 (2006), pp. 37-43 with T. H. Barrett (in Chinese)


Chapters in books (peer-reviewed)


“Luminous Remains: On Jewels, Relics and Glass in Chinese Buddhism” in V. Sasson (ed.), Shiny: Jewels in Buddhist Imaginary and Materiality, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2021, pp. 242-260 (ISBN 9780824887858)


“Transcendence and Immanence: Nonhuman Actants across Buddhist Imaginaries and Modernist Concerns” in D. Ayas and N. Ginwala (eds) Minds Rising Spirits Tuning, Gwanju, Gwangju Biennale Foundation pp. 60-67 (ISBN 979-11-957933-5-8), also available on-line

“Charismatic Communications: The Intimate Public of Chinese Buddhism” in S. Trevagnin and P. Katz (eds.) Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019, pp. 113-132 (ISBN 978-3-11-054645-3; 978-3-11-054784-9)


“Miraculous Bodies: Buddhist Encounters with the Camera” in S. Crippa (ed.), Corpi e saperi: riflessioni sulla trasmissione della conoscenza, Bologna: Pendragon, 2019, pp. 8-18 (ISBN 8833641589)


“The City and the Pagoda: Buddhist Spatial Tactics in Shanghai” in P. Van Der Veer (ed.) Religion and the Asian City: Urban Aspirations in Asia Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015, pp. 90-112 (ISBN 9780520281226; 9780520961081)


“Pluralism and its Discontents: Buddhism and Proselytizing in Modern China” in J. Kiyo Finucane and M. Feener (eds.) Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia, Singapore: ARI-Springer Asia Series, 2015, pp. 237-254 (ISBN 978-981-4451-17-8; 978-981-4451-18-5; 978-981-4451-17-8; 978-981-4451-18-5)


“The Wailing Arhats: Buddhism, Photography and Resistance in Modern China” in D. Park and K. Wangmo (eds.) Art of Merit: Studies in Buddhist Art and its Conservation, London: Archetype Publications, 2013, pp. 113-123 (ISBN 9781904982920


“Terminology and Religious Identity: The Genealogy of the Term Zongjiao” in V. Krech and M. Steinicke (eds.) Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe: Encounters, Notions and Comparative Perspectives, with T.H. Barrett, Leiden: Brill, pp. 307-319 (ISBN 9789004185005) (ISSN 1878-8106)


“Il Buddhismo e la cultura cinese nel secondo millennio dell'era comune, in M. Sabattini e M. Scarpari (eds.) La Cina II, L’età imperiale dai Tre regni ai Qing, , 2010), Torino: Giulio Einaudi Editore pp. 527-539 (ISBN 9788806185121)


“Dalla musica antica alla pratica contemporanea” in M. Sabattini e M. Scarpari (eds.) La Cina II, L’età imperiale dai Tre regni ai Qing, Torino: Giulio Einaudi Editore, vol. II, 2010, pp. 765-771 (ISBN 9788806185121)


“The Making ‘Religion’ in Modern China in N. Green and M. Searle-Chatterjiee (eds.) Religion, Language and Power, London and New York: Routledge, 2008, pp. 30-53 (ISBN 9780415542043)


“Perspectives on Buddhist and Taoist Ritual and their Musical Dimensions” in L. Galliano (ed.) Ritual and Power: Music and Meaning in China and East Asia, Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, pp. 174-194 (ISBN 9788822254894)


“Le strategie di popolarizzazione del sapere Buddhista nella Cina degli anni venti e trenta” in T. Lippiello and M. Scarpari (eds.) Caro Maestro. Scritti in onore di Lionello Lanciotti, Venezia: Cafosacrina, 2005, pp. 1141-1151 (ISBN 8875430586)


Research Notes


“Corpi di carta: note sul buddhismo e la fotografia”, Sinosfere, vol. 9, (2020) pp. 96-102 (ISSN 2612-6982)


“Between Memory and Amnesia: Notes on Shanghai’s Commoditised Cityscape” in Y. Lee (ed.) Shanghai Project: The City in Myth and History, Shanghai: Renmin chubanshe, 2017, pp. 52-60 (ISBN 9787208142763)


“Buddhism and Chinese Culture in the Second Millennium of the Common Era” in Y. Lee (ed.) Song of Living Beings, Shanghai: Dunhuang Research Academy and Himalayas Museum, 2016, pp. 106-124


“Introduzione” in C. Bruno and F. Tarocco (eds), Made in China: Nuovi Scrittori Cinesi, 2008, pp. 5-23 (Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, in Italian, 2008) (ISSN 1724-370X)


“Urban Buddhism: The Jing’an Temple in Shanghai”, China Review 16 (2001), pp, 29-33.


“Report: The 4th International Chime European Association for Chinese Music”, Chime Journal 12-13 (1998), pp. 175–180.


Translations from Chinese


“Splendori fin de siècle” in C. Bruno and F. Tarocco (eds), Made in China: Nuovi Scrittori Cinesi

Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 2008, pp. 161-188


Book Reviews


Shanghai Sacred: The Religious Landscape of a Global City in The China Quarterly, vol. 235 (ISSN 1468-2648)


The Birth of Orientalism Contemporary Buddhism, Journal of Contemporary Buddhism, Vol.15.2, 2014, 484-486


Establishing a Pure Land on Earth. The Foguang Buddhist Perspective on Modernization and Globalization, The China Quarterly vol. 181, pp. 195-197


The Politics of Buddhist Organizations in Taiwan: 1989–2003. Safeguarding the Faith, Building a Pure Land, Helping the Poor, The China Quarterly, vol. 181 (March 2005), pp. 195-197


Mount Lu Revisited: Buddhism in the Life and Writings of Su Shih, Buddhist Studies Review 20 (1), 2003, pp. 100-102.


The Eminent Monk: Buddhist Ideals in Medieval Chinese Hagiography, Buddhist Studies Review, 20 (1), 2003, pp. 97-100.


Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State 1660-1990 Buddhist Studies Review 19 (2), 2002, pp.  206-208.


Chine: Fanbai, Review Essay of the Ocora/Radio France series on Chinese Buddhist Liturgy, Chime Journal vol. 14/15, 2000, pp. 192-194


Art Writing


“Seeing with the body” in R. Gavarro (ed.) Liu Bolin: Hiding to Know, Rome: Arthemisia Books, 36-46 (ISBN 9788885773035)


“Intimacies and Imagined Futures: Video and Performance Practices”, Exhibition catalogue with A. Chang, Nabi Nara and F. Tarocco, New York University and GAX


“New Cities, Old Troubles: Changes in Urban Cultures and Queer Aesthetics across the Sinosphere” in FRIEZE Magazine, vol. 191 (ISSN 0962-0672)


“Liu Xiaodong” in FRIEZE Magazine, vol. 187 (ISSN 0962-0672)


“Miroslaw Balka” in FRIEZE Magazine, vol. 190, pp. 1-7 (ISSN 0962-0672)


“Everyday Pleasures” in FRIEZE Magazine, vol. 180, pp. 1-8 (ISSN 0962-0672)


“New Media Hell” in FLASH ART INTERNATIONAL, vol. 307, pp. 58-63 (ISSN 0394-1493)


“Reporting from the Front: Architecture Biennale 2016” in FLASH ART INTERNATIONAL, vol. 303 


“Shanghai Biennale” in FRIEZE Magazine, vol. 184, pp. 166-166 (ISSN 0962-0672)


“Mark Bradford at Rockbund Art Museum Shanghai in FRIEZE Magazine, vol. 171, pp. 1-5 (ISSN 0962-0672)


“Reading Cai Guo Qiang's Unmanned Nature”, Exhibition Catalogue, “Cai Guo Qiang, Unmanned Nature”, Withworth Art Gallery, 14 February to 21 June, 2015


“Dreams of the South: Watermelons and Memory in Cao Fei’s Haze and Fog” in Cao Fei, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts (CCCA), pp. 28-33, 2013


“Seeing for the Second Time: Huang Xiaoliang’s Photographs”, Huang Xiaoliang, Shanghai: M97 Books, pp. 3-10, 2012


“Paola Pivi: Share, But It's Not Fair”, Randian Journal, September 2012, on-line.


“Paper Metaphors: On Yan Changjiang’s Photographs”, Fantom Photography Quarterly (2011), pp. 19-29 (ISSN 2037-1438)


Encyclopaedia Entries


“The Chinese Buddhist Association” in Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopaedia of Beliefs and Practices, ed. J. Gordon Melton and M. Baumann, pp. 430-435.


“Buddhist Music” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell, print (2001), on-line version 2004, pp. 1122-1129.


Invited Lectures


Invited Discussant, Inaugural lecture by Eugene Y. Wang of the Yin-Cheng Distinguished Lecture Series on Buddhism, University of Cambridge, 22 September, 2021, on-line


Invited Paper, “Non-human Personhood across Buddhist Imaginaries”, East Asian Buddhist Worldmaking, Harvard University, 14 August 2021, on-line 


Invited Lecture, “Techno-culture: Wireless Media Cosmology in China” with Anna Greenspan and Haroon Mirza, Chronos Art Center, Shanghai and Beijing, 13 May, 2021, on-line


Invited Keynote Lecture, “Charismatic Moderns: Relocating Chinese Buddhism in the Digital Age”, The Robert Ho Family Foundation Lecture Series in Modern Chinese Buddhism, SOAS, 25 January, 2019


Invited Lecture, “Asian Indigenous Relations in Contemporary Art”, Concordia University, 10 June, 2019


Invited Lecture, “Il corpo nel buddhismo cinese, Poikilia Seminar Series in Anthropology and Religious Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, April 18, 2018


Invited Keynote Lecture, “Charismatic Communications in Modern Chinese Buddhism”, Lingying Lectures in Buddhist Studies, the University of Oxford, 5 March, 2018


Invited Paper, “The Buddhist Lives of Chinese Artists: Practice, Personhood and Religious Materiality in Post-socialist China”, University of British Columbia, Buddhist Studies Forum, 16-19 June, 2017


Invited Panellist, “Making Waves with Moving Images” with Zhang Zhen, Du Haibin and Pema Tseden, NYU Shanghai, 22 October 2017


Plenary Speaker, “Sutra Transmission and Translation”, Dunhuang Research Academy June 15-18, 2017


Invited Speaker “Making Images: Buddhism and Photography in China, 1900-1950”
, Department of Anthropology, Graduate Institute, East China University, 11 December 2016


Invited Speaker, The Cosmopolitan Lives of Buddhist Images, Rockbund Art Museum, 27 November 2015

Invited Discussant, Colloquium on “Global Asia”, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 18-19 June, 2014


Invited Paper, “Dharma Frames: Looking at Photography and Chinese Modernity” Symposium “Bordering the Borderless: Faces of Modern Buddhism in Asia”, Duke University, 4-5 October, 2013


Invited Speaker, “Buddhism, Photography and Resistance in Modern China”, Courtauld Institute of Art, International Buddhist Forum, 14-16 April, 2012


Invited Paper, “Between Religious Identity and Religious Pluralism: The New Proselytizing Strategies of Sinophone Buddhists” (Singapore National University, Asia Research Institute, September 16-17, 2010


Invited Lecture, “Buddhist Representations in Modern China”, Center for Buddhist Studies, SOAS, 15 October, 2010


Invited Seminar Paper, “Enlightenment Projects: Contemporary Chinese Art and Buddhism”, The University of Manchester, 21 March, 2009


Invited Paper, “Touching the Tiger: Religion, Identity and the Making of Modern Medicinal Remedies in China and South East Asia”, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Medicine Across Asia Lecture Series, 12 September, 2009


Invited Keynote Lecture, “New Directions in Buddhist Studies”, Hong Kong University, 11 August, 2008


Invited Lecture, Currents and Counter-currents in Modern Chinese Buddhist History, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, July 18, 2007


Invited Lecture, “The Making of ‘Religion’ in modern China”, Hong Kong University, School of Chinese, invited lecture at the International Conference on East-West Studies, 11 October, 2007


Invited Seminar Paper, “The Sound of the Tide: Buddhist Ritual in China and Tibet”, School of
 Literatures, Languages and Cultures (Asian Studies) and Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Edinburgh, 12 May 2003


Conference Papers


“Holy Planning: Buddhism and Urban Infrastructure in Post-secular Shanghai” Conference on “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Infrastructure”, NYU Paris, 29 May-1 June, 2017


 “The Cultivated City: Shanghai” with Anna Greenspan, Conference on “Philosophy and the City, Hong Kong University, November 6-7, 2015


“Berlin Buddha: Transnational Circulation and Spectacular Images”, A Symposium of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China, 27-29 June 2014


“Cultivation and the Nature of Cities, Urban Ecologies in Asia” with Anna Greenspan Yale University and Hong Kong University Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 9-12 June, 2014


“The Lives of Buddhist Images in Modern China” (A/P/A Institute, New York University, May 16, 2013


“An Eminent Digital Life: Venerable Daoxin in Cyberspace”, Conference “Religion in the Digital Age”, New York University, Center for Media and Religion, 27-28 September, 2013


“Digital Dharma: Chinese Buddhists and the Internet”, Conference on “New Media and Cultural Transformation: Film, TV, Game and Digital Communication”, Shanghai University, 8-9 December 2012


“Cities without Leftovers: Hong Kong and Shanghai”, conference on “Ret/Prospectives of Hong Kong and Delta Cities in a Global Shadow”, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 22 June, 2012


“Visual Piety and Beyond, Buddhist-Inspired Images in the Modern World”, International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS), Taiwan, June 2011


“Buddhists in the Making of Twentieth Century Chinese Histories” Association for Asian Studies (AAS), chair and organizer of the panel March 22, 2007


“Buddhism and Chinese Religion”, Hong Kong University, International Conference on East-West Studies, October 2007


 “Buddhist Publishing Activities in Late Qing and Republican China”, panel “Printing Technologies and Religions in Competition: Publishing in Late Qing and Republican Period’, International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), Shanghai, 21 August 2005


“The Jesuits and Chinese Religion” Colloquium “Religion, Language and Power”, S. Deiniol’s Library, Hawarden, 21 May 2005


“A Short History of Religious Terminology in China”, workshop ‘Subverting Religion: A Linguistic Approach”, Department of Religion and Theology, The University of Manchester, December 2004


“A Buddhist Revival in Modern China?”, School of Religion and Theology and Middle Eastern Studies, Manchester University, March, 2004


“Hongyi Dashi and the Making of Modern Chinese Buddhism” invited panellist on “Modern Buddhist Music”, International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM), Fuzhou and Quanzhou, January 2003


“Contested Territories: Religious Practice in China”, European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS) Conference, Turin, September 2000


“Issues on the Popularization of Buddhism in China”, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Conference, Leiden, August 2000


Conferences and Panels Organized


Organizer and chair of the Webinar “Re-Orienting Histories of Medicine: Encounters along the Silk Roads” with T.H. Barrett and Ronit Yoeli Tlalim, MaP Center for Global Europe Asia Connections and Center for the Humanities and Social Change, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 4 May 2021


Co-organizer of the Webinar “Can China Go Green? Environmental Governance in China” with Judith Shapiro and Yifei Li, MaP Center for Global Europe Asia Connections and Center for the Humanities and Social Change, with Daniele Brombal, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 19 April 2021


Co-organizer and chair of the Lecture by Lucia Dolce “Tra Medicina e meditazione: pratiche del buddhismo tantrico in Asia Orientale”, Lecture Series on Asian Religions, Department of Asian and North African Studies, with Silvia Rivadossi and the Student Association Gesshin 14 February 2020


Organizer of the inaugural Marco Polo Lecture with Jeffrey Wasserstrom, “Protests, Resistant Past and Collective Memory in the Long Twentieth Century”, and of the graduate seminar “Mr. Science and Mr. Democracy, 1919-2019”, MaP Center for Global Europe Asia Connections at Ca’Foscari, 21-22 May, 2019 


Co-organizer of the International Conference The Fragile City: Creation, Expansion, Collapse and Resilience, Co-sponsored by NYU Shanghai, NYU Tendon, New School University Urban Studies, and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, June 11-13, 2018


Co-curator of the International Exhibition: Intimacies and Imagined Futures —video and performance practices at SOMA Art Space Berlin with Nabi Nara and Alexandra Chang, (June-July 2018),


Organizer and Panelist of Thinking with Lu Yang: A Panel Discussion” with Anna Greenspan (NYU Shanghai, December 6, 2016)


Organizer and Chair of “Cupid in Shanghai” with Lynn and Karolina Pawlik, NYU Shanghai, 17 November 2016)


Organizer and Chair of “Conceptualizing Symbols in the Process of Religious Transfer: The View from China” with Henrik Sorensen, Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai, October 31, 2016


Co-Organizer and chair of the Symposium “Moving Objects: Authorship, Ownership and Experience in Buddhist Material Culture” with Tansen Sen, NYU Shanghai and Aurora Museum, April 22-24, 2016


Organizer and Chair of the lecture “Of Matter, Spirits, and Places: Japanese Discourses on The Bodies of the Shinto Divinities” with Fabio Rambelli, Center for Global Asia NYU Shanghai, April 28, 2016)


Organizer and chair, “The Kids are not All Right: Filiality and Intergenerational Attachments In Contemporary China” with Gail Hershatter and Angela Zito, Center for Global Asia NYU Shanghai, November 12, 2015)


Co-organizer of the symposium “Transcultural Visualities” in collaboration with New York University, A/P/A Institute, the Australian National University, Hong Kong University and The Smithsonian Institution, with Alexandra Chang, Shanghai James Cohan Gallery, July 9-10, 2013


Co-Organizer of the conference “Shanghai Palimpsest: Shadows of the Past in the 21st Century Metropolis”, with Anna Greenspan, East China Normal University and NYU Shanghai, October 11-12, 2011


Co-Organizer of the Conference “Buddhism, Historiography, Adaptation and Contemporary Practice”, UK Association of Buddhist Studies (UKABS) with M. Seeger and J. Caplan University of Leeds, July 7-8, 2010


Organizer and Chair of the panel “Buddhists in the Making of Twentieth Century Chinese Histories”, Association for Asian Studies (AAS), Boston, March 22, 2007       


Public Engagement (Terza missione)


Invited Panellist, “Cosmologie dell’incertezza” with R. Mazza and E. Siani, CICAP Festival della Scienza, Padova, 4 September, 2021


Invited Panellist, Nowtilus Podcast, Ocean Space, Venice, 10 September 2021


Invited Lecture, “Berlin Buddha: Contemporary Art Practices in Post-secular China”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 26 November, 2017


Invited Speaker, “Between Memory and Amnesia: Some Reflections on Shanghai’s Commoditised Cityscape”, Himalayas Museum, 12 December 2016


Invited Speaker, Asia Keywords, Tate Modern, May 16, 2015


Invited Public Lecture “Between Seeing and believing” Public Lecture at Witte de Wit Museum Rotterdam, 30 March, 2013


Invited Panellist, “A Tale of Two Times: Buddhism and Millenarianism in East Asian Thought” Minsheng Museum, Shanghai, 11 December, 2012


Invited Lecture, “Buddhism and Shanghai in the Interwar Period”, Royal Asiatic Society, Shanghai, 25 February, 2012


Co-Organizer of the Public Lectures Series “All Tomorrow’s Parties: Summoning Creativity in Shanghai” with Anna Greenspan, RAM Museum, Shanghai, 2012-13


Invited Lecture, “Moon-related Imagery in Chinese Art”, Arthub Asia Shanghai, 18 December, 2011


Invited Lecture, “Contemporary Chinese Visual Culture”, Sainsbury Institute for the Visual Arts, 26 September 2009


Invited Lecture, “Religion, Paranoia, and Moral Panic in China and Japan” with Ian Reader Manchester Urbis Centre, public lecture on 11 February, 2007


Asia Europe Young Leaders Symposium, The Hague, invited speaker, June 24-26, 2004


Invited Lecture, “The Buddhist Press in Shanghai”, International Research Centre, Shanghai Library, 22 September, 2003


Public Lecture, “Buddhist Ritual in Asia”, The British Museum, public lecture, 28 October, 2003


Jury Chair/Member


British Council Artists in Residence Program, Artists Link Shanghai, 2006—2009


Membership of Professional Associations

Association for Asian Studies, UK Association of Buddhist Studies, International Association of Buddhist Studies, Association for the Arts of the Present


Referee and Evaluator for Grant Agencies


Arts and Humanities Research Council UK (Major Research Grants)

The Leverhulme Trust (Major Research Grants)

Arts Council of England

Asia Europe Foundation



Reader of Manuscripts for Academic Publishers


Hawai’i University Press (2009—the present)


Routledge (2009—the present)



Reader for Reference Works


The Cambridge Companion to Miracle (2006—2007)


The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Buddhism (2015—on-going)



Peer Reviewer for Academic Journals


Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies

China Quarterly

Journal of the Oxford Center for Buddhist Studies

Buddhist Studies Review

Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

CHIME Journal

Contemporary Buddhism

Journal of Buddhist Ethics

Journal of Current Chinese Affairs

Journal of Global Buddhism

Journal of Modern South Asian Studies

Studies in Chinese Religion


Hualin Journal of Buddhist Studies

Annali di Ca’ Foscari

Emaj Art Journal



Archival Experience


1997-1998                             Vatican Library (Barberini Orientale Collection, Rome)

1994, 1996                             Fondazione Giorgio Cini (Biblioteca di ‘Venezia e l’ Oriente’)

2010-2011                             Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice

2000 2005, 2011-2016                      Shanghai Municipal Archives

1999- 2000, 2003, 2005, 2015          Shanghai Library Special Collections (Qing and

Republican Period, dailies Shenbao, Shinwubao)

2009, 2011                             Xujiahui Library (Bibliotheca Zikawei), Shanghai

2003                                       Hongyi and Feng Zikai Research Institute, Hangzhou

1998                                       Music Research Institute Archives, Beijing

2005                                       Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Shanghai

1999-2004                               School of Oriental and African Studies Special Collections (Republican Period Chinese Periodicals; China World Mission Library and Archives, Reginald Johnston Collection),

2004-2009                               John Rylands Library, University of Manchester (Crawford Collection of Chinese Books and Manuscripts, Methodist Archives)

2017-2019                               Shanghai Library Special Collections, Ningbo Tiantongsi, Hangzhou Lingyingsi



Field Experience


More than fifteen years of fieldwork in China (Shanghai, Ningbo, Nanjing, Suzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, and in rural areas in Sichuan, Zhejiang, Hunan, Gansu, Qinghai), Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, 1997-2019

Fieldwork in Buddhist Monasteries in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan (1994-1995, 1998-1999, 2000-2001, 2002)


Field recordings and documentation


“F. Tarocco Collection of Buddhist and Daoist Ritual and Liturgical Music,” C951, British Library Sound Archive




English, Italian, Spanish, Modern Chinese (Mandarin), Latin, Sanskrit, Literary Greek, Literary Chinese, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit


Media Appearances (Selected)


I have collaborated extensively with the BBC World Service since 2003


In 2005 I co-wrote a radio program on “Buddhist Vegetarianism” with Fuchsia Dunlop and consulted the BBC on Chinese Buddhism (“Women and Religion”).


Since 2008, I have been regularly interviewed by the BBC World Service, BBC Television (Midlands) Dongfang Radio, Channel 4, BBC Radio 4, Bloomberg News, Modern Weekly (Shanghai), Wall Street Journal, The Economist


Academic Boards


2021— on-going          Member, Advisory Board of the book series The Future Contemporary, Inquiries into Visual, Performing and Media Arts, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari


2020 — on-going         Member, Advisory Board, of the book series Masters, Texts, and Sources of the East, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari


2020 —on-going          Member, Academic Advisory Board, Centre for the Humanities and Social Change, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice


2020 — on-going         Member, Academic Advisory Board, Global @Venice, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice  


2018 — on-going         Member, Academic Advisory Board, Marco Polo Research Center for Global Asia Europe Connections  


2016 — on-going         Member, Academic Advisory Board, The Revealer, Center of Media and Religion, New York University


2015— on-going          Member, NYU Florence Advisory Committee, New York University


2010— on-going          Co-director, Shanghai Studies Society (with Anna Greenspan and Shaoyi Sun)


2007— 2010               Member, Advisory Board of Arthub Asia Foundation/Prince Claus Fund Partnership (The Netherlands)


2005— 2007               Member, Strategic Committee on China, School of Modern Languages, The University of Manchester


Administrative Responsibilities


Ca’ Foscari University of Venice


2021—                          Chair, Search Committee for a tenure-track position in Japanese religion (Presidente della commissione selezionatrice nella procedura per la copertura di n. 1 posto di ricercatore a tempo determinato ai sensi dell'art. 24 comma 3 lettera b), settore concorsuale 10/N3, settore s-d L-OR/20).

                                      Member, Collegio di Dottorato in Asian and North African Studies

                                      Member, Comitato di Ricerca, Department of Asian and North African Studies

                                      Member, Giunta di Dipartimento



2020—                          Faculty Integration and Mentoring Delegate, Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari

                                      Member, Giunta di Dipartimento, Department of Asian and North African Studies


2019—2020                  Convenor, MA Asian Studies (Coordinatrice Corso di Laurea Magistrale LICAAM, Department of Asian and North African Studies)


2019                              Academic Advisor (Referente scientifico), Summer School “Communities and the Individual: Democracy’s Building Blocks, School of International Education” (School of International Education, Ca’ Foscari)


2019 (March-June)        Recording Secretary, Search Committee for tenure-track position in Korean History/Religion (segretario della commissione selezionatrice nella procedura per la copertura di n. 1 posto di ricercatore a tempo determinato ai sensi dell'art. 24 comma 3 lettera b) della L. 240/2010, settore concorsuale 10/N3, settori s-d L-OR/20, L-OR/22). 


Recording Secretary, Student Affairs, (Commissione giudicatrice della selezione degli studenti rappresentanti nei Gruppi AQ e nella CPDS)

Chair, search (concorso) for non-academic officer for International Student Mobility (Referente mobilita’ internazionale, Cina), Department of Asian and North African Studies


2017—2019                  Academic Officer, International Student Mobility (Referente mobilita’ internazionale, Cina), Department of Asian and North African Studies


2018—present              Member, Academic Research Affairs Committee, Department of Asian and North African Studies


2018 — present            Member, Doctoral College, Department of Asian and North African Studies and Joint PhD Degree, Department of Asian and North African Studies with Heidelberg University


2018 (Summer)             Member, Committee for project of “Dipartimento di Eccellenza”, Department of Asian and North African Studies, Italian Ministry of Education


New York University


2019—                          Member, Search Committee for tenure/tenure-track in Chinese Art History/Urban Studies


2014— 2016                 Senator (alternate), NYU Shanghai and New York University (elected in September 2014) 


2014— 2015                 Member, Inclusion-Equity-Diversity Committee, NYU Shanghai and New York University


2014—2015                  Member, Faculty Affairs Committee, 2014—2016 (NYU Shanghai)


Courses Taught


Ca’ Foscari (2016—present)


Laurea magistrale (DM270): Lingue e civiltà dell'Asia e dell'Africa mediterranea [LM20]

Storia della filosofia e delle religioni della Cina: Religioni e societa’ della Cina moderna a econtemporanea, corso blended


Laurea magistrale in Environmental Humanities: Buddhist Views of Nature and the Environment, corso blended in inglese


Laurea triennale: Lingue, culture e società dell’Asia e dell’Africa mediterranea [LT40]

History of Buddhism (6 cfu) [LT2950]


Storia della filosofia e delle religioni della cina (6 cfu) [LT0480]


New York University Shanghai (2011—present)


Gods, Ghosts, Buddhas and Ancestors: Religion and Society in China (advanced undergraduate seminar)

Contemporary Art and New Media in China (advanced undergraduate seminar)

The Cultivated City (advanced undergraduate seminar)



The University of Manchester (2002—2011)


The World of Buddhism

Buddhism and Modernity in China and East Asia

Texts, Rituals and Practitioners in Mahayana Buddhism


Graduate Level Courses: Reading Classical Chinese Texts,

Buddhism under Colonialism: Britain, India and Sri Lanka


School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1998—2004)


History and Holy Heritage

Introduction to Buddhism

Introduction to Asian and African Religions


Graduate Level Course: History of Chinese Religion in Imperial Times


PhD Examiner (International)

Amandine Peronnet, “Le temple Pushou 普寿寺 et le projet « Trois-Plus-Un ». Nonnes et modes de production du bouddhisme contemporain en Chine continentale”, Dissertation Commitee, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, Università di Perugia, March 2021


Chiung Yi Sylvia Huang, “Sound of the Dharma, Contemporary Buddhist Music in Taiwan”, Sydney Conservatory, Australia, January 2020


Katherine Grube, PhD East Asian Studies, New York University, “State of Exchange: Contemporary Art and China's Postsocialist Image Economy” with Jonathan Hay (NYU) and Laurence Coderre (NYU). Defense: 20 December, 2017.


“Mediating the Dharma, Attuning the Senses: Technologies of Embodiment and Personhood Among Nonliberal Buddhists in North America,” New York University, Anthropology Department, Reader of the thesis by Robert Y. Chang, degree conferred in August 2014.


“The Early Formation of the Buddhist Otherworld Bureaucracy in Early Medieval China”, Oxford University, External Examiner of Frederick Shih-Chung Chen’ thesis, August 2010. With Vesna Wallace (UC Santa Barbara).


“New Religions in Russia”, The University of Manchester, Department of Russian, member of the dissertation defense panel of Maria Desnitsky, degree conferred in October 2009.


“The Brethren Mission to China”, The University of Manchester, School of Arts Histories and Cultures, History Department, member of the dissertation defense panel, David Woodbridge, until August 2010



PhD and Marie Curie Advisor Advisor (Ca’ Foscari And International)


Supervisor with Prof. Lucia Dolce (SOAS), Davide Tomio, Doctoral student of the 35th cycle in PhD Program in Asian and North African Studies, Ca' Foscari, “Edo-period Ko in Japan”, 2021


Supervisor Marie Curie Project, Valentina Gamberi Marie Curie Project RES (Relics engage with society), 2020 [Seal of Excellence] 


Supervisor with Prof. Barbara Mittler (University of Heidelberg), Ruxin Jia, Doctoral student of the 35th cycle in PhD Program in Asian and North African Studies, “Neoliberal Striver Women in Contemporary Chinese Media”, 2019-ongoing


Advisory board member 2019-2021 Marie Curie URBAN_CHINA,


Antonella Diana’s Project Marie Curie URBAN_CHINA


Supervisor of “Thomé Fang, Tang Junyi and the Appropriation of Huayan Thought”, The University of Manchester, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, Department of Religious Studies, Ph.D. advisor and chair of the dissertation defence panel of King Pong Chiu, degree conferred in February 2014


Supervisor of “The Body in Chinese Buddhism”, The University of Manchester, School of Arts Histories and Cultures, Department of Religious Studies, Ph.D. advisor and chair of the dissertation defense panel of Mai Yinger, degree conferred in September 2012


“A Study of Bishop Ting Kuanghsun’s Theological Reconstruction in China”, The University of Manchester, School of Arts Histories and Cultures, Department of Religious Studies, Ph.D. advisor and chair of the dissertation defense panel of An-chu Tee, degree conferred in October 2010




[1] Selected by Steven Poole as non-fiction choice for The Guardian; June Sawyers, Booklist; Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education; New Statesman; NPR; BBC Radio 4; Bloomsberg News).