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In April 2016, the Australian National University is holding a conference on “Religious Transformation in Asian History”:
Asian history and culture have been profoundly influenced by a number of religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Islam, Sikhism, Shamanism, and Shintō). These traditions offer spiritual guidelines but also set moral and ethical standards for the daily life of people in Asian countries. The formation of cultures of communities across the region was informed by regional religious traditions. However, their social structures were challenged by the wave of colonialism and imperialism in the modern era. Just as Western modernisation affected society, politics, law, culture, customs, and ways of thinking in Asia, it also influenced the domestic conditions of traditional religions. They became either weak and irrelevant or they transformed in order to survive. Many new religious movements also emerged as alternatives. What were the key issues in the colonial environment of Asia? How did local religious communities react against modernisation? What modes of religious existence prevailed: consistency, transformation, or compromise? The primary aim of the ANU Religion Conference is to explore the various phenomena of socio-religious transitions in Asian history. The religiosity of Asian people is used as a new perspective by which Asian modernisation can be re-interpreted in a fresh way.
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