The Academic Contribution to American Daoist Practice
Posted on 20. Apr, 2010 by James Miller in Sixth International Daoist Studies Conference
|Title||The Academic Contribution to American Daoist Practice|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|Conference Name||Sixth International Conference on Daoist Studies: Daoism Today: Science, Health, Ecology|
|Keywords||Sixth International Daoist Studies Conference|
What kinds of practices that are labeled as Daoist do Americans engage in and where do these practices come from? To answer these questions, I will first of all trace the origins of the academic study of Daoism, evoking the trajectories of seminal scholars who became initiated into Daoist lineages. I will argue that the “scholar/practitioner” issue in religious studies is crucial to understand the development of American Daoist Practice. I will present examples of collaborations between popular Western Daoist groups and credentialed scholars of Daoism, as well as Americans who identify as both Daoist practitioners and academics, as opposed to other scholars of Daoism, who research Daoist practice, but in a purely sinological manner that allows no role for personal experience. What is the future of American Daoist practice as it navigates between the poles of specialized text-based scholarship and commercialized New Age eclecticism?