TAROCCO Francesca

Francesca Tarocco

Curriculum Vitae

July 2019


Department of Asian and North African Studies                       

Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia
Palazzo Vendramin dei Carmini 

Dorsoduro 3462
30123 Venezia, Italy

T Venice Office: +39 041 234 8872

Email: francesca.tarocco@unive.it

ORCID: 0000-0002-6918-8940

SCOPUS ID: 26322728300


2016—present                 Associate Professor of Chinese Religion and Philosophy (L-OR 21)

Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici e dell’Africa Mediterranea, Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia

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

2015—present                 Affiliated Faculty, Center for Global Asia, New York University Shanghai

2014—2016                   Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures

Faculty of Arts and Sciences, New York University Shanghai, New York University

2014 (Summer)               Visiting Professor, New Asia College

Chinese University Hong Kong

2013 (Summer)               Visiting Professor, Asia Pacific American Institute

New York University

2011—2014                   Assistant Professor of Chinese Visual and Religious Culture

Faculty of Arts and Sciences, New York University Shanghai, New York University

2002—2011                   Lecturer in Buddhist Studies

Department of Religion and Theology, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures

The University of Manchester

1998—2002                   Visiting Lecturer in Chinese Religions

Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) The University of London

2001—2002                   Visiting Lecturer in East Asian Buddhism

Department of East Asian Studies, The University of Edinburgh

Italian National Scientific Qualification (ASN)

2017-2023  Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale a Professore di I Fascia (Italian National Scientific Qualification to Full Professor), 10/N3 Culture dell’Asia Centrale e Orientale


2004                             PhD in Chinese Religious History

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Dissertation: Attuning the Dharma: The Cultural Practices of Modern Chinese Buddhism[1] Advisory Committee: T. H. Barrett (Chair), Keith Howard, David Hugues,

Examineers: Frank Dikötter, Ian Harris

1998                             MA/MMUS in Chinese Buddhism

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London  

Thesis: Early Buddhist Liturgical Music according to Chinese Canonical Sources

Special Subject Thesis: Annotated Translation and Commentary of the Fascicle 36 of the Medieval Buddhist Encyclopedia Fayuan zhulin

Advisor: T. H. Barrett

Examiner: Martina Deuchler

1996                             Laurea in East Asian Languages and Civilizations (Chinese)

Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia

                                    Thesis: Mente ed illuminazione nel “Trattato sul risveglio della fede secondo gli insegnamenti del Grande Veicolo (Dasheng qixin lun)

Advisors: Fabrizio Pregadio, Alfredo Cadonna

Examiners: Giuliano Boccali (Chair), Giovanni Stary, Giancarlo Calza, Fabrizio Pregadio, Alfredo Cadonna

Honors, AWARDS and Fellowships

2013—2020                   Research Fellowship, Global Art Exchange (GAX)

Asia Pacific American Institute, New York University

2016—2018                   Critical Collaborations Fellowship

                                    Institute for Advanced Studies, New York University

2015                             NYU Shanghai Provost Award

International Symposium on “Moving Objects: Authorship, Ownership and Experience in Buddhist material culture” (April 22-24, 2015)

2015                             House of World Cultures Travel Grant

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 Grant, The Terra Foundation, New York

2012                             Conference Grant, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

2010                                         Conference Grant, Dharma Drum Foundation, Taiwan

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

2005—2008                   The Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship

Project: “Printing and Praying: The Making of Religious Identities in Modern China”

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”

2001- 2003 The Spalding Trust

Project: “The Religious Press in Archives in Shanghai and Hangzhou”

1997—1998 The University of London Central Research Fund Award

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)

Academic Boards

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

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

2015— present                Member, NYU Florence Advisory Committee, New York University

2010— present                Director and Founder, 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 Languages, The University of Manchester


Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

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

2019—present                  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)

areas of Expertise


East Asia (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong), Buddhism, Chinese religions, archives, history and historical consciousness, relics, urban Asia, Shanghai, modernity, technology, space and infrastructure, visual and material culture, photography, religion and media, sound, contemporary art


Chinese Buddhism

Chinese Religion and Philosophy

East Asian Buddhism

Contemporary Art in China and Hong Kong


Contemporary art market in China (Shanghai)


1. 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’ nella Cina moderna e contemporanea [LM2310]

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]

2. 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)

3. 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

4. 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


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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).

4. 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.

5. 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 Advisor (Ca’ Foscari and International)

1. Mia Nakayama co-supervisor Joint Doctoral Program with Hans Martin Krämer (Universität Heidelberg) Between Confucianism and Christianity: An Intellectual Biography of Yoshida Shōin, Pioneer of Japanese Imperialism

2. 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 defense panel of King Pong Chiu, degree conferred in February 2014

3. 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

4. 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


Monographs and Edited Volumes

1.     Altar Modern: Buddhism and Technology in the Chinese Digital Age (forthcoming with Routledge c. 250 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.     Religion and Contemporary Art in Asia, 1950-2020 (edited volume in preparation for University of Washington Press, c. 300 p. with 40 illustrations)

4.     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)]

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

[REVIWES AND NOTICES by Mamahuhu http://mamahuhu.altervista.org/tag/made-in-china-nuovi-scrittori-cinesi/ Consolata Lanza, http://librinuovi.net/1442/nuovi-scrittori-cinesi-degli-anni-80; Tutto Cina https://www.tuttocina.it/editoria/made-in-china.htm]

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

7.   Karaoke: The Global Phenomenon with Zhou Xun, (Chicago: Chicago University Press; London: Reaktion Books 224 p., 60 color illustrations).[2]

[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

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


Articles in Scopus and Other Refereed Journals

9.   “Religious Tolerance: A View from China”. Philosophy & Social Criticism, vol. 45.4 (2019), 469–476. https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453719828775

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

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

12.  “On the Market: Consumption and Material Culture in Modern Chinese Buddhism”, Religion, vol. 4 (2011), 627- 644.
13. “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 (BSOAS), vol. 71 (2008), 323-343.

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

Chapters in books

15.  Luminous Remains: On Jewels, Relics and Glass in Chinese Buddhism, in Vanessa Sasson (ed.), Jewels in Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2020).

             Miraculous Bodies: Buddhist Encounters with the Camera in Sabina Crippa (ed.), Corpi e saperi:

riflessioni sulla trasmissione della conoscenza (Bologna: Pendragon, 2019), 8-18.

17. Charismatic Communications: The Intimate Public of Digital 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), 113-132.

18. Between Memory and Amnesia: Some Notes on Shanghai’s Commodified Cityscape in Y. Lee (ed.) Shanghai Project: The City in Myth and History (Shanghai Renmin chubanshe, 2017).

19.  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), 106-124

20.  The City and the Pagoda: Buddhist Spatial Tactics in Shanghai in P. Van Der Veer (ed.) Handbook of Religion and the Asian City: Urban Aspirations in Asia (Berkeley: University of California Press. 2015), 90-112.

21. 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), 237-254.

22.  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), 113-123.

23. 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), 307-319.

24. Buddhism and Chinese Culture in Late Imperial Times in M. Sabattini e M. Scarpari (eds.) The Chinese Civilization: From its Origin to Modern Times (Torino: Giulip Einaudi Editore, 2010), 527-539.

25.  From Early Music to Contemporary Practice in M. Sabattini e M. Scarpari (eds.) The Chinese Civilization: From its Origin to Modern Times (Torino: Giulip Einaudi Editore, 2010), 765-777 

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

27.  Introduzione in Made in China: Nuovi Scrittori Cinesi, F. Tarocco and C. Bruno (eds), (Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, in Italian), 5-23.

28.  Splendori fin de siècle (translation from the Chinese) in Made in China: Nuovi Scrittori Cinesi, F. Tarocco and C. Bruno (eds), (Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, in Italian), 161-188.

29.  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), 174-194.

30.  Buddhist Popularizing Strategies in Late Imperial and Modern China in M. Scarpari and T. Lippiello (eds.) Scritti in onore di Lionello Lanciotti per l’ottantesimo compleanno, (Venezia: Cafoscarina), 1140-1150.

Book Reviews

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

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

33.  Establishing a Pure Land on Earth. The Foguang Buddhist Perspective on Modernization and Globalization,

The China Quarterly, 181 (March 2005) 195-197.

34. The Politics of Buddhist Organizations in Taiwan: 1989–2003. Safeguarding the Faith, Building a Pure

Land, Helping the Poor, The China Quarterly, 181 (March 2005), 195-197.

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

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

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

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

Catalogues and Art Writing

39. Vedere con il corpo/ Seeing with the body in Raffaele Gavarro (ed.) Liu Bolin: Hiding to Know (ArthemisiaBooks), 36-46.

40. Intimacies and Imagined Futures: Video and Performance Practices, Exhibition catalogue and curatorship by Francesca Tarocco, Alexandra Chang, Nabi Nara, exhibition 19/06/2018-15/07/2018 (app. 1-40)

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

42. Liu Xiaodong in FRIEZE, vol. 187 (ISSN 0962-0672)

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

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

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

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

47. Shanghai Biennale 2016 in FRIEZE, vol. 184, pp. 166-166.

48. Mark Bradford at Rockbund Art Museum Shanghai in FRIEZE, vol. 171, pp. 1-5

49. Reading Cai Guo Qiang's “Unmanned Nature” Manchester, The University of Manchester, Withworth Art

Gallery, pp. 1-15, Exhibition Catalogue, Cai Guo Qiang, Unmanned Nature, 14 February to 21 June 2015.

50. Dreams of the South: Watermelons and Memory in Cao Fei’s Haze and Fog in Cao Fei, Centre for

Chinese Contemporary Arts (CCCA): 28-33, 2013

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

52. Paola Pivi: Share, But It's Not Fair, Randian Journal, September, 2012, online.

53. Paper Metaphors: On Yan Changjiang’s Photographs” Fantom Photography Quarterly (2011), 19-29. 

54. Seeing with the Body in B. Benedetti (ed.) Liu Bolin: Hide and Seek (Brescia: Skip_Intro Ultracontemporary Art Books, in English and Italian), 6-20.

Encyclopedia Entries

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

56. Buddhist Music in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell, print (2001), online version 2004, 1122-1129.

Research Notes

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

58.            Report: The 4th International Chime European Association for Chinese Music Meeting at Heidelberg University, Chime Journal 12-13 (1998), 175–180.

Guest Editor of Refereed journal special Issues

59. Journal of Global Buddhism Buddhist and the Making of Modern Chinese Societies Vol 18 (2017)

60. International Quarterly for Asian Studies The Politics and Poetics of Asian Cities, forthcoming 2019, with Patrick Heinrich and Daniele Brombal

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


1.     Invited Lecture Asian Indigenous Relations in Contemporary Art, Concordia University, Montreal 10-12 June, 2019.

2.     Invited keynote lecture, The Robert Ho Family Foundation Lecture Series in Modern Chinese Buddhism (School of Oriental and African Studies, 25-26 January 2019).

3.     Invited lecture, Poikilia Seminar Series in Anthropology and Religious Studies “Bodies, Between Perception and Manipulation”, lecture on “Photography and miraculous bodies in modern Chinese Buddhism” (Department of Humanities, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, April 18 2018)

4.     Invited lecture, Lingying Lectures in Buddhist Studies on “Charismatic Communications: (Re)locating Chinese Buddhism in the Digital Age” (The Oriental Institute, Oxford University, March 5 2018)

5.     Invited speaker, “The Buddhist Lives of Chinese Artists: Practice, Personhood and Religious Materiality in Postsocialist China”, conference on “Buddhism and Business, Market and Merit: Intersections Between Buddhism and Economics Past and Present” (University of British Columbia, Buddhist Studies Forum, 16-19 June 2017)

6.     Invited panelist “Making Waves with Moving Images” with Zhang Zhen, Du Haibin and Pema Tseden (NYU Shanghai, 22 October)

7.     Plenary Speaker, Conference on “Sutra Transmission and Translation” (Dunhuang Research Academy June 15-18)

8.     Invited Speaker, “Berlin Buddha: Contemporary Art Practices in Post-secular China” (House of World Cultures, Berlin, Conference on “Present's Disjunctive Unity: Constructing and Deconstructing Histories of Contemporary Cultural and Aesthetic Practices, 26-28 November)

9.     Invited Speaker, “Between Memory and Amnesia: Some Reflections on Shanghai’s Commodified Cityscape” Conference on “Shanghai in Myth and History” (The Shanghai Project, Himalayas Museum, Pudong Library, 12 December)

10.   Invited Speaker, “The Cosmopolitan Lives of Buddhist Images” (Rockbund Art Museum, 27 November)

11.   “Asia Keywords” (Tate Modern, May 16)

12.   Keynote Speech, “New Directions in Buddhist Studies” (Hong Kong University, Center for Buddhist Studies, 11 August)

13.   Keynote Speech, “Currents and Counter-currents in Modern Chinese Buddhist History” (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Center for Buddhist Studies, Conference on “Buddhist Globalization, July 18)


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

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

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

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

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

2014 “Contemporary Visual Culture and Chinese Buddhism” invited paper at conference “Buddhisms in Modern China: Between Resistance, Secularization and New Religiosities” (University of Goettingen, Trans-regional Research Network, Max Plank Institute, 22-25 March, declined for family reasons)

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

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

2012 “A Tale of Two Times: Buddhism and Millenarianism in East Asian Thought” Public Lecture (Minsheng Museum, Shanghai, 11 December)

2012 “Digital Dharma: Chinese Buddhists and the Internet” (Shanghai University, Invited Lecture, 8 December)

2012 “Buddhism and Shanghai in the Interwar Period (Royal Asiatic Society, Shanghai Public Lecture, 25 February)

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

2012 “Buddhism, Photography and Resistance in Modern China” (Courtauld Institute of Art, London, “Robert Ho Family Foundation International Buddhist Art Forum”, 14-16 April)

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

2011 “Moon-related Imagery in Chinese Art” (Arthub Asia Shanghai, public lecture, 18 December)

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

2010 “Buddhist Representations in Modern China” (Center for Buddhist Studies, The School of Oriental and African Studies, invited lecture, 15 October)

2009 “Enlightenment Projects: Contemporary Chinese Art and Buddhism” (The University of Manchester, 21 March)

2009 “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, Invited Lecture, Medicine Across Asia Lecture Series, 12 September)

2009 “Contemporary Chinese Visual Culture” (Sainsbury Institute for the Visual Arts, 26 September)

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

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

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

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

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

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

2003 “The Buddhist Press in Shanghai” (International Research Centre, Shanghai Library, public lecture, 22 September)

2003 “Buddhist Ritual in Asia” (The British Museum, public lecture, 28 October)

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

2003 “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, May)

2000 “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)

Conferences and Panels Organized

1.         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’ Foscai University of Venice (June 11-13 2018), .

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

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

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

5.         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)

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

7.              Organizer and Chair of “Of Matter, Spirits, and Places: Japanese Discourses on The Bodies of the Shinto Divinities” with Fabio Rambelli (NYU Shanghai, April 28, 2016)

8.              Organizer and chair, “The Kids are not All Right: Filiality and Intergenerational Attachments in Contemporary China?” with Gail Hershatter and Angela Zito (NYU Shanghai, November 12, 2015)

9.              Organizer and Chair with Alexandra Chang of “Transcultural Visualities” in collaboration with New York University, A/P/A Institute, the Australian National University, Hong Kong University and The Smithsonian Institution (Shanghai James Cohan Gallery, July 9-10)

10.            Organizer and Chair of the public lectures series “All Tomorrow’s Parties: Summoning Creativity in Shanghai” with Larys Frogier and Anna Greenspan (RAM Museum, Shanghai, 2012-13)

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

12.            Organizer of “Buddhism, Historiography, Adaptation and Contemporary Practice' annual conference of the UK Association of Buddhist Studies (UKABS) with M. Seeger and J. Caplan (University of Leeds, July 7-8)

13.            Organizer and Chair of the panel “Buddhists in the Making of Twentieth Century Chinese Histories” panel at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), Boston, March 222007            “Religion, Paranoia, and Moral Panic in China and Japan” with Ian Reader (Manchester Urbis Centre, public lecture on 11 February)

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

Jury Chair/Member

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

Reader of Manuscripts for Academic Publishers

Hawai’i University Press (2009—the present)

Routledge (2009—the present)

Reader and Author for Reference Works

The Cambridge Companion to Miracle (2006—2007)

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Buddhism (2015—the present)

Reader 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

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)


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

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

Buddhist-inspired Contemporary Visual Culture (Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore, London, New York), 2009- on going

Field recordings and documentation

“Francesca 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)


[1] Short-listed for Best Dissertation in Asian Studies Prize, International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), 2005.

[2] 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).