Author: James Miller

James Miller speaks at Andover Hall, Harvard Divinity School

In a recent column in Nature, Qiang Wang argues that responsibility for transforming China’s environment lies with its citizens. He points to several instances in which local protests have successfully prevented new industrial activity, and argues that this heralds the beginning of a new relationship between Chinese citizens, the state and the environment. China is…

Read More the philosophy of qi in an era of air pollution

A priest at the Daoist temple in Rio de Janeiro

 Daniel M. Murray and James Miller. 2013. “The Daoist Society of Brazil and the Globalization of Orthodox Unity.” Journal of Daoist Studies 6: 93-114. Abstract Taken out of Chinese cultural context, Daoism is often associated with physical cultivation practices such as qigong or taiji quan rather than the traditional lineages of Quanzhen or Zhengyi a hierarchically organized religion.…

Read More The Daoist Society of Brazil and the Globalization of Orthodox Unity Daoism

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In an online report on Religious Innovation for Sustainable Future (no longer available), Nina Witoszek (Oslo University) surveys a “pastoral renaissance” taking place across the globe. This renaissance, she declares, is “not just a tide of projects and conferences, but a new-old mindset which aspires to reclaiming nature, culture and spirituality, influencing green architecture and…

Read More green spirituality and the limits to modernity

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A recent news story on Reuters, headlined Thou Shalt Not Launch IPOs, China tells temples, reports that the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) has issued an injunction against temples listing on the stock exchange. SARA official Liu Wei is reported as staying: Such plans “violate the legitimate rights of religious circles, damage the image…

Read More the business of religion: buddhism, stock markets and the “authenticity” of religion

A typical landscape: rice paddies in the valley, rubber on the hillsides.

A conservation biologist by training, I first arrived in Xishuangbanna because of my interest in the ecological value of sacred groves called “holy hills,” fragments of old-growth rainforest that remain protected by indigenous Dai people despite rapid deforestation due to the proliferation of rubber plantations. The Dai protect holy hills because they believe their gods…

Read More cultural transformation and ecological sustainability among the dai people in xishuangbanna

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For the past six months I’ve been working with Dan Smyer Yu from the Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity on a conference which is finally taking place next week at Minzu University in Beijing. The title of the conference is Religious Diversity and Ecological Sustainability in China. Here’s the conference rationale that…

Read More religious diversity and ecological sustainability

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This term I have the privilege of co-teaching a new seminar course at Queen’s (with Emily Hill) on the topic of Green China: Environment, Culture, Politics. The course examines the intersections between religion, culture, politics, and the natural environment in China over the past century. One of the first books we read was Farmers of Forty…

Read More permanent agriculture and the anthropology of waste