The Souls of China – A Conversation with Ian Johnson

  • When: April 12, 2017 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Where: NYU Bookstore, 726 Broadway, NY, NY 10003
  • Summary: A conversation with author Ian Johnson about his new book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao
  • Details:

    Pulitzer-Prize winning author Ian Johnson will join Professor Angela Zito for a conversation about his new book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao

    The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao (Pantheon/Knopf in the US and Penguin in the UK, both on April 11, 2017) tells the story of one of the world’s great spiritual revivals. Following a century of violent anti-religious campaigns, China is now filled with new temples, churches and mosques–as well as cults, sects and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty–over what it means to be Chinese, and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality a century ago and is still searching for new guideposts.

    This book is the culmination of a six-year project following an underground Protestant church in Chengdu, pilgrims in Beijing, rural Daoist priests in Shanxi, and meditation groups in caves in the country’s south.

    Along the way, Johnson learned esoteric meditation techniques, visited a nonagenarian Confucian sage, and befriended government propagandists as they fashioned a remarkable embrace of traditional values. These experiences are distilled into a cycle of festivals, births, deaths, detentions, and struggle–a great awakening of faith that is shaping the soul of the world’s newest superpower.