Nikolas Broy - 百可思

Religious Studies / Chinese Studies

Currently, I am an adjunct researcher at the Institute for the Study of Religion at Leipzig University, where I also earned my PhD in 2014.

I have studied Religious Studies and Chinese Studies in Leipzig and worked at the universities of Leipzig and Göttingen, as well as in Hefei, Anhui Province (PRC).

I am interested in the social history and religious practice of Chinese religions, both historically and contemporary, and across various Chinese societies and communities. Specifically, I work on popular sects and new religious movements, the globalization of Chinese religions, Buddhism and violence, and religiously motivated forms of vegetarianism and fasting.

I just finished working on a monograph about the Zhaijiao (Vegetarian Sects), which is tentatively entitled Flourishing Fasts: Vegetarian Sects in Late Imperial and Modern Chinese Societies. This book, which is the outcome of my Ph.D. research and many years of work afterward, explores the place of the Zhaijiao within the religious landscape of late imperial and modern Chinese societies. Contrary to earlier research, which typically conceptualizes these sects as either nonconformist dissenters or lay Buddhist practitioners, I show that they represent a specific intersection of the “Three Teachings” of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, local religious life, and transregional sectarian salvationism. By examining salvational teachings, religious symbols, mythological narratives, everyday practices, architecture, and material traits, as well as specific sectarian rituals over a period of more than four hundred years, I situate the Zhaijiao at the very core of local society.



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