TAROCCO Francesca

Professoressa Associata/ Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies and Chinese Religious History

School of Oriental and African Studies, The University of London, PhD 2004


Research Interests

Area: East Asia (China)

Topical: Buddhism, urban China, visual and material culture, religion and media, archives, history and historical consciousness, modernity, photography, contemporary art


Academic Employment

Visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures, NYU Shanghai, 2017—

Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures, NYU Shanghai, 2015—2016

Assistant Professor of Chinese Visual and Religious Culture, NYU Shanghai, 2013—2014

Director and Founder of Shanghai Studies Society (Shanghai Studies Research Initiative), 2011—

Lecturer in Buddhist Studies, The University of Manchester, 2002—2011        

Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Studies and Chinese Religions, SOAS, University of London, 1998—2002


Honors and Fellowships

Critical Collaborations Scholar, New York University, Institute for Advanced Studies and Tisch School of the Arts, 2016—2018

Global Art Exchange Scholar, New York University, A/P/A Institute, 2013—2017

Visiting Professor, New Asia College, Chinese University Hong Kong (June-July 2014)

Visiting Professor, New York University, A/P/A Institute (May-June 2013)      

Leverhulme Trust Fellowship, The University of Manchester, 2005—2008    

The Sutasoma Trust Fellowship, “The Buddhist Press in Shanghai”, 2000-2003

Visiting Professor of East Asian Buddhism, University of Edinburgh, 2001—2002

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

Research Fellow, Sichuan University, Center for Religious Studies, 1995—1996


Conferences and Panels Organized

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)

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)

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)

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)

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, 2013)

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—2013)

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, 2011)

                        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, 2010)

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 2, 2007

Curator and Organizer with Davide Quadrio and Luciana Galliano, “New Music from China and Japan” (Shanghai Concert Hall, 21 August, 2005)

Organizer of “Music and Meaning in China and East Asia: Beauty, Power and Emotions” with Luciana Galliano and the Chime Foundation (Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, 26-29 August, 2001)


Keynotes and Invited Lectures

Invited panelist “Making Waves with Moving Images” with Zhang Zhen, Du Haibin and Pema Tseden (NYU Shanghai, 22 October, 2016) 

Plenary Speaker, Conference on “Sutra Transmission and Translation” (Dunhuang Research Academy June 15-18, 2016) 

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, 2015) 

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, 2015)

Invited Speaker, “The Cosmopolitan Lives of Buddhist Images” (Rockbund Art Museum, 27 November, 2014) 

“Asia Keywords” (Tate Modern, May 16, 2010)

Keynote Speech, “New Directions in Buddhist Studies” (Hong Kong University, Center for Buddhist Studies, 11 August, 2010) 

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, 2018)


Invited Papers

“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)

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

“Making Images: Buddhism and Photography in China, 1900-1950”

(Department of Anthropology, Graduate Institute, East China University, December 2016)

“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 Jiao Tong 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)  

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, 2014)

“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, 2013)

 “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, 2012)

“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, 2011)

“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 2010)

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

“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)

“Religion in China, a Genealogy” invited speaker (Hong Kong University, International Conference on East-West Studies, October 2007)

 “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 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)

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

 “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)

“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 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)


Research and Conference Grants

NYU Shanghai Provost and Center for Global Asia grant for the international symposium on “Moving objects: authorship, ownership and experience in Buddhist material culture” April 22-24, 2015

House of World Cultures Travel Grant, Berlin, November 23-30, 2015

Research and Travel Grants, The Terra Foundation and NYU Global, 2012—2014

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

Conference Grant from The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation for the conference and book project The Buddhist Forum (Courtauld Institute of Art) London, April 2012)

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

Travel grant from the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, 2010    

Conference Organization Grant, Dharma Drum Foundation, Taiwan, 2010

Travel Grant for “Chinese Globalization Workshop Series, University of Cambridge and University of Wales at Lampeter, 2009       

Research Grant from the University of Manchester on “Famine, Humanitarianism and the ‘Chinese crisis’: 1860-1911” with Bertrand Taithe, 20092010

Leverhulme Trust Fellowship for the project “Printing and Praying: The Making of Religious Identities in Modern China", 2005—2008  

Research and Travel Grants to China, The Leverhulme Trust, 2005—2008

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

Research grant from the Spalding Trust for “The Religious Press in Archives in Shanghai and Hangzhou”, 2001- 2003

Travel Grant from The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), 2000

Travel Grant from The European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS), 2000

Visiting Lecturer Award from The Italian Cultural Institute in Shanghai, China, 1999

Research Grants from the University of London Central Research Fund Award, 1997—1998

Visiting Scholar Grant from the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Education, 1994