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Spiritual Revolutions: A History of New Age Religion in Taiwan

Farrelly, Paul James

Description

My thesis is a cultural history of New Age religion in Taiwan. I focus on C.C. Wang (1941-) and Terry Hu (1953-), the two earliest and most prolific sinophone proponents of a ‘Xinshidai [New Age]’. I consider their lives (as New Agers) and written works (as New Age figures), concentrating on the period to 2000. In this thesis I explore how Wang and Hu introduced New Age religion to Taiwan through analysis of their publicly available writings and translations....[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorFarrelly, Paul James
dc.date.accessioned2017-11-28T05:53:56Z
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/136199
dc.description.abstractMy thesis is a cultural history of New Age religion in Taiwan. I focus on C.C. Wang (1941-) and Terry Hu (1953-), the two earliest and most prolific sinophone proponents of a ‘Xinshidai [New Age]’. I consider their lives (as New Agers) and written works (as New Age figures), concentrating on the period to 2000. In this thesis I explore how Wang and Hu introduced New Age religion to Taiwan through analysis of their publicly available writings and translations. In chronologically examining their life experiences and the various ideologies that they gradually wove into their work, I demonstrate the agency of these two women as New Age innovators and show how they represented their own lives as evidence of the transformational efficacy of New Age religion for modern Taiwanese women. Raised in a family who escaped from China and then converted to Catholicism, Wang’s most important contributions are her translations of Jane Roberts’s Seth books (beginning in 1982). These continue to be popular with readers and have inspired a new generation of teachers and students. She also translated internationally popular texts such as Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (1970) and Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God (1998). Viewing this work alongside her efforts in beginning the Fine Press’ New Age Series (1989-) and establishing the Chinese New Age Society (1992), her publisher described her as “the mother of the New Age in Taiwan” (2012). Wang began developing expertise on American culture when raising a family there in the mid 1960s and again for much of the 1970s. She used these domestic experiences as the basis of her burgeoning literary career. An important part of Wang’s oeuvre are the monthly columns she published pseudonymously in The Woman and China Ladies between 1969 and 1981. In these columns Wang not only established herself as a trans-Pacific expert of everyday life techniques (especially regarding relationships and parenting), she also articulated the psychological unease that she would later seek to remedy through spiritual exploration and, ultimately, in translating New Age books. Her early work is notable for both illustrating a particular type of modernity available to young urban females and for establishing the nurturing and inquisitive spirituality she would later disseminate widely. Already interested in the type of ideas discussed in the New Age, it was only after a life-altering encounter with a Seth book in a California library in 1976 that Wang began exploring the New Age more deeply. She eventually discovered Shirley MacLaine’s Out on a Limb (and later wrote the preface to the 1986 Mandarin translation), which she described as inspiring and “a book of enlightenment.” Hu was born to a politician father who also escaped from China. She learnt English as a child and developed a fascination with American culture. After a short stint in New York’s bohemian Greenwich Village in the early 1970s, she soon became a film star in Taiwan. She featured in several dozen movies and was briefly married to the author Li Ao (b.1935). She retired from acting in 1988 and devoted her energy to translating New Age texts, especially the work of Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) who she depicted as a “New Age Buddhist.” Throughout her careers as an actor and author Hu appeared as an archetype of the global, modern and, ultimately, spiritually sophisticated woman. Hu’s individual identity was strongly grounded in the social context of Taiwan’s elite, and she increasingly blended martial law-era Chineseness and her celebrity status with American post-hippie spiritual trends. Her multifaceted and evolving identity augments dominant identity and gender discourses in Taiwan and binds her into the New Age’s transnational web of religious innovation and personal transformation.
dc.format.extent1 vol.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherCanberra, ACT : The Australian National University
dc.rightsAuthor retains copyright
dc.subjectTaiwan
dc.subjectNew Age
dc.subjectReligion
dc.subjectHistory
dc.subjectText
dc.subjectCelebrity
dc.subjectBuddhism
dc.subjectConfucianism
dc.subjectMartial Law
dc.subjectTranslation
dc.subjectRetreat
dc.subjectAmerica
dc.subjectUnited States of America
dc.subjectImmigration
dc.subjectJiddu Krishnamurti
dc.subjectSeth
dc.subjectJane Roberts
dc.subjectTerry Hu
dc.subjectC.C. Wang
dc.subject胡因夢
dc.subject王季慶
dc.subjectChina
dc.subjectCulture
dc.subjectSociety
dc.titleSpiritual Revolutions: A History of New Age Religion in Taiwan
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.institutionThe Australian National University
local.contributor.supervisorPenny, Benjamin
local.contributor.supervisorcontactbenjamin.penny@anu.edu.au
dcterms.valid2017
local.description.notesthe author deposited 28/11/2017
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2017
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationAustralian Centre on China in the World, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University
local.description.embargo7/02/2020
local.request.emailrepository.admin@anu.edu.au
local.request.nameDigital Theses
dcterms.accessRightsRestricted access
CollectionsRestricted Theses

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