RCGI Seminar Series: The City God Belief of the Song and Ming Dynasties

Graduate Student Seminar onThe City God Belief of the Song and Ming Dynasties: A Symbiosis between State and Religion”

Date: 16 January 2009
Location: Research Clusters Meeting Room A, AS7, Level 6.
Time: 1030am to 1200pm

Organized by Religion Research Cluster, FASS, NUS.


  • Chan Ying Kit, Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore.
  • About the Speaker: Chan Ying Kit is a MA candidate in the Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore.  His research interests include the cult of City God, Sino-Japanese interactions, and late imperial China.  


  • Anthropologist James Watson has used his “Orthopraxy Hypothesis” to describe Chinese rituals, claiming that adherence to them is what makes a person distinctively “Chinese”. Comprising primarily the terms “Orthodoxy” and “Orthopraxy”, Watson’s hypothesis has been a controversial one. To determine its relevance to folk (or popular) religion, I have used the City God (Chenghuang 城隍) cult as an analytical lens to see if the cult’s development in the Song-Ming dynasties can offer us a glimpse of the hypothesis at work. Basic assumptions and principles of the hypothesis would be stressed upon and I would explain how certain attributes or qualities of the City God cult had led to a form of massive conformity to state rituals at local levels. This, amongst other factors, had helped forge the Chinese empire.

Please email Jack Chia at: mengtat@nus.edu.sg if you are interested in attending .

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