Historiography and Hagiography in Buddhism and Beyond

Historiography and Hagiography in Buddhism and Beyond

Sculpture in the Pavilion of Expressing Sympathy for Loyal Officials (Minzhong ge 憫忠閣), Fayuan Temple (法源寺). Balkwill, Stephanie et al. 2019. DOI 10.14288/1.0438676


Location: University of Cambridge in Cambridge, United Kingdom

Date and Time: 8 to 10 July, 2024


Abstract: This international conference aims to bring together scholars working on practices of recordkeeping, historiography, and hagiography in the Buddhist tradition and in related cultural fields. Recent years saw a steadily growing interest in the impact of Buddhism on historiography and hagiography, in tandem with an unprecedented increase in the availability of textual and visual primary sources. Ambitious digitization projects and the changing landscape of the digital realm offer new opportunities to study premodern and contemporary practices of writing and narration. In this three-day conference, we seek to foster an interdisciplinary discussion on practices of textual and visual recording, storytelling, and memory in Chinese Buddhism and beyond – past, present, and future.


We welcome proposals for papers on topics relating to historiography, hagiography, and narration, including but not limited to:

• Buddhist historiography and record-keeping
• Historiography and record-keeping in other Chinese religious traditions
• Narrating lives of extraordinary individuals (e.g., biographies, autobiographies, hagiographies) in textual, oral, visual, and material forms
• The intersection of Buddhism and literature
• Book culture and production of texts in the Buddhist tradition (e.g., in print culture, manuscript culture, patronage of textual production, production of temple gazetteers and mountain gazetteers, etc.)
• Uses of visual arts and the performance arts in creating or supporting Buddhist historiography and hagiography


Proposals for papers should include the following information:

1. Name, affiliation, and title of position at the affiliated institution (independent scholars are also welcome to apply; please note “independent scholar” in your proposal, if relevant)
2. Title
3. 250-word abstract
4. Contact information: email, address, and phone number(s)


The deadline for all proposals is Friday, February 23rd, 2024 (23/02/2024).
Proposals should be sent as either a Word or PDF file to the following email address: hist.hagio@gmail.com
For general information and logistical questions, please email the organizing committee at: hist.hagio@gmail.com
Regarding the conference, please contact the primary organizer, Dr Noga Ganany, at ng462@cam.ac.uk.
*Proposals must be submitted in English.


This conference is generously sponsored by the Tzu Chi 慈濟 Foundation and hosted by the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge.