Mark Meulenbeld

Associate Professor
(608) 262-9220
1216 Van Hise
Ph.D., Princeton University (2007); MA, Leiden University (1997)

Affiliate member of the Religious Studies Program

** on leave until December 31, 2016 **

Daoism, Chinese Religion and Literature

  • Ritual and narrative culture in Chinese religious traditions (Ming dynasty to present)
  • Interaction between local religion and Daoism (Ming to present)
  • Fieldwork in Hunan (ongoing since 2004)
  • Fieldwork on Taiwan (ongoing since 2003)
  • Daoism and ecology; Daoism and modernity
  • Introduction to Daoism (EA/RS 350)
  • Genres of Asian Religious Writing (EA/RS/LCA 235)
  • Topics in Chinese Literature: Journey to the West (EA/LITTRANS 371)
  • Topics in Religious Studies: Society, Modernity, and Chinese Religion (RS 200)
  • History of Chinese Thought I: Hagiography, Ritual, and Miracles (EA 661)
  • History of Chinese Thought II: Visions of Ritual, Ritual Visualizations (EA 662)
  • Seminar in Chinese Thought: Exorcisms, Festivals, and Theatre in Late Imperial Popular Culture (EA 971)


Demonic Warfare: Daoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel. University of Hawai’i Press, 2015



“Spheres of Cultural Circulation: A Case Study of Altars, Statues and Rituals in Hunan” (paper prepared for the conference on historical anthropology by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, September 2016; to be published 2018)

“Enter the Vision: Ming Paintings as Portals into Different Time-Space.” (paper prepared for the conference on late imperial paintings by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, October 2016; to be published in 2017)

“Ritual and Locality: Fengshen yanyi in a Hunan Village.” (to be submitted to Studies in Chinese Religions by June 30, 2016).

“Rituals at the Water Margin: How Shuihuzhuan Lets the Demons Play Only to Lock Them up Again.” (accepted for publication in edited volume; forthcoming with Hong Kong Commercial Press, Summer 2016).

“Daoist Modes of Perception: Sire Thunder's Ritual Conversion into the Human Body-cosmos.” (submitted to Daoism: Religion, History, and Society, 2016).

“Death and Demonization of a Bodhisattva: Guanyin’s Reformulation within Chinese Religion.” (Journal of the American Academy of Religion, January 2016).

From “The Corpus of Daoist Ritual”: The Song of the Dark Pearl. In Jack Miles (ed.), The Norton Anthology of World Religions (NYC: Norton, 2015), pp. 1923-28.

“Dancing with the Gods: Daoist Ritual and Popular Religion in Central Hunan” In John Lagerwey & Lü Pengzhi (ed.), Comparative Ethnography of Local Daoist Ritual 「地方道教儀式實地調查比較研究」. (Taibei: Xin Wenfeng, 2013), pp. 113-84.

“From ‘Withered Wood’ to ‘Dead Ashes’: Burning Bodies, Metamorphosis, and the Ritual Production of Power. Cahiers d’Extrême Asie 19 (2012), pp. 217-66.

“Chinese Religion in the Ming and Qing.” In Randall Nadeau (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Chinese Religions (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2011), pp. 125-144.

“Daoism.” In Jacob Neusner (ed.), Introduction to World Religions: Communities and Cultures (Abingdon Press, 2010), pp. 233-49.

“Of Statues and the Local Soil: How Village Gods in Hunan Speak Daoist Theology” In Gil Raz (et. al.), Daoist Visual Culture (forthcoming).



“How the Chinese 'Novel' became a Province in the Empire of World Literature” (article)

"His Ugly Body Exposed: A Visual History of the Thunder God’s Powers" (article)

"Ghost Stories: The Social Imaginary of Ming China" (book project)

"Uses of Transcendence: Ritual Ecology and Modernity in a Chinese Village" (book project)


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