Department of Religious Studies

Quan Gan 甘佺



Comparison | Monasticism | Kingship | Chinese Buddhism | Medieval church-state | Weberian historical sociology


I aspire to become a comparative social historian on 9th-14th century Eurasia in the long term. My interests gravitate around two themes: monasteries and sacred kingship.

At the moment, I want to build a fitting model to situate Christian and Buddhist monasteries within their social, cultural, and intellectual landscapes in Latin Christendom and East Asia. I find the following parameters promising: royal control of monastic patronage as part of political and cultural consolidating agendas; monastic efforts to form continuous communal identities; and monastic interactions with non-monastic social elites.

I feel that area specialists, religious experts, historians, and social theorists owe each other more attention and constructive critiques. Personally, I take most of my structural insights from anthropological and sociological theories, especially from Max Weber, Clifford Geertz, Robert Bellah, and David d'Avray; in parallel, Indo-/Buddhologists, Medievalists, and East Asian specialists lay foundations to any serious historical study by providing dating, textual criticisms, translations, and philological commentaries of primary sources; last but most importantly, historians always build on monumental works of their curious predecessors.

With interests in large-scale historical analyses, I am convinced that the biggest challenge for historians of our time is to learn how to co-operate more effectively with other generalists/specialists/comparativists. Thus, if you share my view and have any idea of co-operation; or, even better, disagree and would like to educate me, or just want to say 'hi', feel free to shoot me an email. I am in all ears.

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