CURA Hosts Chinese Delegation for Talk on Religious Extremism

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A group of six scholars from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and the Shanghai Association of Religious Studies visited the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies on June 24, 2016 for a conversation on religious extremism.

The discussion, which was hosted by the Pardee School and the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs (CURA), was arranged through long-standing relationships that Jim Wallace, Lecturer in International Relations, and Robert Weller, Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, have with members of the Chinese delegation. CURA Director and Professor of Anthropology and International Relations Robert Hefner also participated in the discussion.

A presentation was made by the Chinese delegation on the topic of religious extremism by Dr. Zhou Yueming, Vice Secretary General of the Shanghai Association of Religious Studies, and a presentation was made on the topic on behalf of Boston University by Nancy Ammerman, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology of Religion.

A discussion moderated by Wallace and Weller followed the presentations, and there was agreement on a number of points about the nature and structure of extremist groups based on religion. Given the cultural, sociological and political differences between the two countries, there was a healthy exchange of views on how best to deal with extremist groups.

According to Wallace, there is a desire on the part of both groups to continue the dialogue and cooperative relationship, both at Boston University and in Shanghai.

“We look forward to continued interactions, cooperative endeavors and research projects,” Wallace said.