Confucianism as a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities

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Anna Sun

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Anna Sun is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Sociology at Duke University. A scholar of religion and culture (Princeton PhD in sociology), she has written extensively on the historical production of knowledge of Confucianism as a world religion; gender and the contemporary development of Global Confucianism; comparative studies of prayer and ritual; and theoretical and methodological issues underlying the study of East Asian religions. Professor Sun has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford (2015-16) and of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2010-11).

Professor Sun serves as a trustee of the Fetzer Institute. She is on the Advisory Committee of the “Women’s Studies in Religion Program” at Harvard Divinity School, and she is an advisor for the Pew Research Center on surveys of religion in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the US (Asian-Americans). She has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of ASIANetwork (2015-16); Vice President of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions (2017-2020); and two-term Co-Chair of the Chinese Religions Unit of the American Academy of Religion (2015-2021).

In addition to her articles and essays, Professor Sun’s publications include Confucianism as a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities  (Princeton University Press, 2013), winner of book awards from the American Academy of Religion and the American Sociological Association;  Situating Spirituality: Context, Practice, and Power, co-edited with Brian Steensland and Jaime Kucinskas (Oxford University Press, 2021); and Against Happiness, co-authored with interdisciplinary colleagues about comparative notions of wellbeing (Columbia University Press, 2023). She is currently working on two monographs, one on Global Confucianism, the other on contemporary ritual life in relation to magic, rationality, gender, time, and urban space.

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