Ritual and Materiality in Buddhism and Asian Religions International Conference

Frontispiece of block print ritual text Cibei daochang chanfa 慈悲道場懺法 (Hangzhou, 1621-1722). Courtesy of the East Asian Library and the Gest Collection, Princeton University Library. 

Ritual and Materiality in Buddhism and Asian Religions
International Conference at Princeton University, June 13-15, 2023


Report in Chinese by Hanruo Zhang

Report in English by Kentaro Ide



Co-organizers: Stephen F. Teiser (Princeton University), Shih-shan Susan Huang (Rice University)

In-person conference hosted by Princeton University, Buddhist Studies Workshop. Sponsored by the Glorisun Global Buddhist Network.


Pre-registration is now open for the conference on Ritual and Materiality in Buddhism and Asian Religions, to be held on the Princeton University campus beginning June 13, 2023, 4:00 pm, and ending on June 15, 2023, 1:00 pm. The conference will be in-person only; hybrid or remote options will not be available.  

Performance, ritualized actions, and praxis are central to Buddhism and the religions of Asia, and recently, scholarship has begun to appreciate the importance of objects and the human body in ritual. This conference is intended to foster work that explores the connections between ritual and different forms of materiality, including manuscripts, printed liturgies, paintings, images, statues, talismans, other ritual implements and technologies, and bodily engagement.  

The keynote lecture (June 13) will be given by LIU Shu-fen (Academia Sinica). Respondents for the panels (June 14-15) will be Laurel Kendall (American Museum of Natural History) and Justin McDaniel (University of Pennsylvania). 21 scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America will discuss their papers. In addition, 20 Ph.D. students from across the globe have been accepted to take part in the discussion.  

The conference is free and open to the public. Sponsors are the Glorisun Global Buddhist Network and Princeton University. 

Discussion (in English) will focus not on panelists’ presentations but on pre-distributed papers, which will be made available to those who pre-register. 

Pre-registration is required and is now open for students, faculty, and the general public on the conference website. Pre-registration is for in-person attendance only; hybrid or remote options will not be available. The registration deadline is May 29, 2023. 




Subject: Papers may deal with any religious tradition across Asia, premodern or modern.

Approach: We seek a mix of disciplinary perspectives, including history and history of religions, philology and text-critical research, art history, literary studies, and anthropology.

Proceedings: Conference proceedings will focus on discussion and critique of papers (pre-circulated one month in advance).

Demographics: Priority will be given to younger scholars (Ph.D. recipients including independent scholars, assistant and associate professors) and those who have not recently participated in Princeton-based conferences.

Language: Papers and discussion will be in English.

Expenses: Lodging, meal, and travel expenses will be provided by the organizers.

Graduate attendance: Ph.D. students are welcome to attend; special forums will be held; meals and a partial subvention for travel and lodging will be provided by the organizers for those who apply early. Graduate registration/application will open in 2023.

Call for proposals: Paper proposals should be sent to ccsr@princeton.edu; please include “Ritual and Materiality Conference Proposal” in the subject line. Proposals should include a title and 250-word abstract. Proposals are due by Nov. 1, 2022. We aim to send acceptances by Dec. 15, 2022.


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