The direct outcome of this project is the creation of a robust consortium of institutions and an international network bringing together top researchers in the field of East Asian religions. Their combined resources will accomplish goals that would be otherwise unattainable. This project promotes novel, interdisciplinary approaches to investigate multiple mediums and multimedia to develop a far more nuanced understanding of East Asian religions. The methodology emphasises effectively combining onsite work with off-site research. Chief among the immediate benefits will be the development of a highly effective graduate student training project to generate new fields of inquiry. Many of the insights from this project will prove valuable for policy-makers and educators in Canada, where a prosperous future includes nurturing a constantly evolving understanding of and innovative cooperation with East Asia. The project also seeks to deepen our overall perception of a growing part of Canada’s cultural mosaic: immigrants and citizens with East Asian heritage.
This project will generate the publication of a large number of peer-reviewed sole-authored monographs, edited volumes, articles, book chapters, exhibition catalogues, reports, and policy briefs that will shed light upon previously muddied aspects of East Asian religions and related research topics. Resulting research will substantially elevate the discourse within the respective scholars’ fields and disciplines. Collaboration between such a broadly defined but closely knit team will ultimately contribute a great deal to cross-cultural dialogue that sustains Canadian society.
While considerable breakthroughs are expected within the field of East Asian religions, the most important contribution this project has to offer is innovative methodological approaches. Its accomplishments in terms of research training will be measured not only by the number of students and HQPs it will train, but, more importantly, by the success of its pedagogical philosophy that views training students as a dynamic and bidirectional process in which junior researchers are encouraged to play an increasingly significant role.
The partnerships created by this project will be extensive, including not only research and educational institutions, but also religious and secular communities, as well as public and private organizations. The research network involves a broad range of international partners and serves the interests of the educational, private and public sectors. One focal point of this project is, for example, constructed around how the transition from manuscript to print and coterminous developments within a range of technologies and reading techniques in premodern East Asia may inform our perceptions of the current global transition from print to digital media. We will investigate transformations in the culture of writing and reading in East Asia as a “distant mirror” (using the words of historian Barbara W. Tuchman [1912-1989]) to reflect upon current developments within the digital humanities and our changing relationships to texts.
Our intended audience extends well beyond academia to include policy-makers, local communities, educators, undergraduates, and school groups. The project pioneers a new collaborative model to maximize knowledge mobilization and engagement with our research outputs by grouping together researchers with shared or complementary expertise and inquiries across a broad, yet well defined, international and multilingual Humanities research network. The precedent set will encourage researchers in other academic fields, as well as project leaders in the private and public sectors, to develop analogous plans to achieve targeted goals in our increasingly connected world.