We carry out on-site research with Chinese-language religious materials preserved at crucial religious sites in four East Asian countries: Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and China. In each country we will work with local partners to identify and document texts, images, and material culture. Conducting on-site research through comparative studies of local religious cultures in East Asia will allow our team to develop new insights about restricted and expansive narratives concerning the history and transmission of East Asian religions.

Before the fieldwork begins, a team will be organized to train highly qualified personnel how to effectively conduct on-site research. Our aim will be to train and help develop our HQP/students’ skills in working with local partners, international peers, and to suitably identify, document, photograph and transcribe primary materials. On-site research will help our students acquire first-hand knowledge of the chief materials they are going to work with, and provide them with direct experience of the contexts from which these sources evolved. More importantly, this SSHRC-funded research program trains our students to work in diverse multicultural, international, and interdisciplinary environments. Since very few East Asian Studies programs in North America and Europe can provide instruction of this type or calibre, this aspect of our project represents a unique and important educational opportunity that will hopefully become a model for the field during and after the grant period.

In tandem with each research program, our proposed fieldtrip programs aim to break down the boundaries that currently divide academic communities. These programs are designed to foster global connections to establish an international network between established and junior scholars.