Barend ter Haar teaches Chinese studies at the University of Hamburg, with a strong focus on cultural and religious history. Although first of all a social and cultural historian, the religious dimension is so central to Chinese traditional life that much of his research up to now has dealt with religious phenomena. In addition, he has worked extensively on issues of ethnic identity, violence and fear, and social organization. An important concern of his is to demonstrate that traditional culture and cultural patterns are still relevant today, as becomes visible for instance in the case of the Falun Gong or the ongoing role of exorcist violence in political contexts throughout the twentieth century. For those who read Dutch, he has published a history of China, entitled The Heavenly Mandate: The history of the Chinese Empire until 1911 or Het Hemels Mandaat: De Geschiedenis van het Chinese Keizerrijk (AUP: Amsterdam, 2009) with a somewhat revisionist view on the Chinese past. His book on the lay Buddhist group called the Non-Action Teachings (late 16th century to the present) has come out with Hawai’i University Press, as Practicing Scripture: A Lay Buddhist Movement in Late Imperial China.
Department: Numata Center for Buddhist Studies
Role(s): Participant-Faculty, Cluster Leader, Co-investigator, Fieldwork Committee