Robert P Weller (Boston U), was recently awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
“A Guggenheim Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards a scholar can get, especially outside the natural sciences,” says Virginia Sapiro, dean of Arts & Sciences. “It is a sign of Rob Weller’s substantial accomplishments and recognition as a major figure in anthropology, and a well-deserved opportunity for him to make substantial progress on his next book.”
The yearlong grant will allow Weller to spend the next year traveling back and forth to China, where he will continue his study of religious pluralism. Weller says China has long had both polytheistic and monotheistic traditions, as well as the official atheism promoted by the government since the revolution in 1949. “As China has loosened controls over the past few decades,” he says, “all of these traditions have begun to interact in new ways.” He will look at what is happening on the ground as all of the traditions interact with one another. He hopes to determine whether religions in China are “helping to build bridges between groups of people or erecting walls that divide them.”
The funding will also enable Weller to investigate how the Chinese state and the Communist Party are dealing with the different religious traditions that today are changing the face of China.
“The massive labor migrations of the past two decades have brought together people with very different religious traditions, as people from all over China move to the wealthier areas of the east, including large numbers of Muslims from China’s northwest,” says Weller. “Foreigners from all over the world have also contributed to the new diversity.”
To learn more about Weller’s research and to read the entire article, click here.