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New Perspectives on the “Dao” of “Huidaomen”: Redemptive Societies and Religion in Modern and Contemporary China

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This essay uses research in Chinese religion, and specifically Chinese “redemptive societies,” to challenge and enrich the received history of “sects and secret societies” in modern and contemporary Chinese history, and suggests that a future “history of cultivation movements” might be a helpful means to steer between competing narratives of state-building and personal religious experience. The discussion is illustrated with a brief biography of Li Yujie (1901–94), founder of the redemptive society Tiandijiao who devoted his life to cultivation and religion, but also to independent journalism and the Guomindang.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, Université de Montréal


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