Dr. Nikolas Broy

Dr. Nikolas Broy

Research Fellow

Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe)
Institutsgebäude
Schillerstraße 6, Room 115
04109 Leipzig

Abstract

Currently, I am an assistant professor at the Institute for the Study of Religion at Leipzig University, where I also earned my PhD in 2014. I have worked at the universities of Leipzig and Göttingen, as well as in Hefei, Anhui Province (PRC). My PhD research dealt with the religious practice of "Vegetarian Sects" in late imperial China and modern Taiwan. My present research explores the global spread of the modern Chinese-Taiwanese religious movement Yiguandao ("The Way of Pervading Unity") in South Africa, Japan, and the United States.

My research and teaching interests include Chinese religions, popular religious sects and "redemptive societies" in Chinese history, Buddhism in East Asia, Buddhism and violence, vegeterianism, religion and globalization, Japense research in Chinese religions (1895-1945), and the sociology of religion.

Professional career

  • 09/2009 - 08/2011
    Researcher at the Institute for the Study of Religion, Leipzig University, project title: "The Religious Practice of Zhaijiao ("Vegetarian Sects") in Taiwan" (funded by DFG)
  • 04/2010 - 09/2010
    Visiting scholar at the Institute of Ethnology, Acadamia Sinica (Taipei)
  • 09/2011 - 07/2013
    Research and teaching associate at the Department of East Asian Studies, Georg August University Göttingen
  • 09/2013 - 07/2014
    Language instructor at the German Department, Anhui University, Hefei (China)
  • 09/2014 - 02/2015
    Language instructor in the bilingual BA program "LOGinCHINA" at the Department of Logistics, Hefei University (China)
  • 04/2015 - 02/2016
    Ajunct lecturer, Institute for the Study of Religion, Leipzig University
  • 10/2015 - 02/2016
    Adjunct lecturer, East Asia Department (Chinese Studies), Leipzig University
  • 01/2016 - 12/2019
    Postdoctoral researcher at the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199 "Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition" for the project "The Global Spread of Taiwanese Religious Organizations," Leipzig University
  • 01/2017 - 05/2017
    Visiting scholar at the Institute of Ethnology, Acadamia Sinica (Taipei)
  • since 01/2020
    Assistant professor, Institute for the Study of Religion, Leipzig University

Education

  • 10/1999 - 02/2007
    Undergraduate and graduate studies: religious studies and Chinese studies, Leipzig University
  • 09/2004 - 07/2005
    Study of Chinese language at Renmin University of China, Beijing
  • 04/2008 - 03/2009
    Study of Japanese language at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto (Japan), funded by a scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • 04/2007 - 01/2014
    Doctoral dissertation in the Study of Religion, Leipzig University

As a scholar of religion, I am interested in the social history of Chinese religions, and my research particularly investigates popular religious sects and "Redemptive Societies" as well as Buddhism. I also work on speficif topics in religious studies, such as religion and violence, vegetarianism, secularity, and superstition. In my work I aim to combine historical research and ethnographic fieldwork.



In addition, I also pursue a distinct systematic interest and work primarily in the sociology of religion. Besides having worked with classics in the field, such as Max Weber and Pierre Bourdieu, I am particularly interested in Rational Choice Theory and the field of ​​religion and globalization.



  • Broy, N.
    Bourdieu, Weber und Rational Choice: Versuch einer Weiterentwicklung des religiösen Feldmodells am Beispiel Chinas
    Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft. 2017. 25 (2). pp. 287-324
    show details
  • Clart, P.; Broy, N.; Reinke, J.
    Migrating Buddhas and Global Confucianism: The Transnational Space-Making of Taiwanese Religious Organizations.
    SFB 1199. Leipzig. 2017
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  • Broy, N.
    American Dao and Global Interactions: Transnational Religious Networks in an English‐Speaking Yiguandao Congregation in Urban California
    In: Clart, P.; Jones, A. (Eds.)
    Transnational religious spaces : religious organizations and interactions in Africa, East Asia, and beyond. Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg. 2020. pp. 263-282
    show details

more publications

I have taught undergraduate and graduate classes at universities in Leipzig, Göttingen (Germany), Hefei (PRC), and Brno (Czech Republic) during the past years. As a scholar of religion and Chinese studies, my teaching encompasses not only religion in China, but also other aspects of both fields, including history, society, and the study of comparative religion.

Particularly because the topics we explore as scholars of religion are related to human beings and their religious lives, I have always found it extremely helpful to integrate films, images, and sounds of temple life, rituals, practices, and religious festivities in the class sessions, so that the students would learn religion not merely by reading books, but also by observing religious people and getting to know religious life.

Overall, my aim as a teacher is not limited to transmitting knowledge but rather to motivate students to be curious, reflective, and eager to examine issues from various perspectives. Instead of providing mere facts, I hope to broaden their horizons and enable them to critically reflect established notions and concepts. 

  • Between Self-Cultivation and Religious Rebellion: Readings in the History of Popular Religious Sects since the Ming Dynasty

    summer term 2011

    Department of Chinese Studies, Leipzig University 

    together with Andreas Berndt

    reading class in classical Chinese

  • Reading Class Modern Chinese I (Intermediate Level)

    winter term 2011/12

    Department of East Asian Studies, Georg-August-University Göttingen

  • Introduction to the Religions of Modern China

    summer term 2012

  • Reading Class Modern Chinese II (Intermediate Level)

    summer term 2012

    Department of East Asian Studies, Georg-August-University Göttingen

  • Methods and Competencies in Chinese Studies

    winter term 2012/13

    Department of East Asian Studies, Georg-August-University Göttingen

  • Civil Society and Local Administration in Modern China

    winter term 2012/13

    Department of East Asian Studies, Georg-August-University Göttingen

  • Introducing China: Culture, Geography, Language, Taiwan

    summer term 2013

    Department of East Asian Studies, Georg-August-University Göttingen

  • Secularization Versus ‘Religious Fever’: Transformations and Continuities of Religions in Modern China

    summer term 2013

    Department of East Asian Studies, Georg-August-University Göttingen

  • Secularization Versus ‘Religious Fever’: Transformations and Continuities of Religions in Modern China

    summer term 2015

    Department of Religious Studies, Leipzig University

  • The Aum Sect, Shaolin Kung-Fu, and Zen Buddhism: An Introduction to the Religious Landscape of East Asia

    winter term 2015/16

    Department of Religious Studies, Leipzig University

  • History of China II: From the Song Dynasty to the Early Mao Era

    winter term 2015/16

    East Asia Department, Leipzig University

  • Popular Religious Sects and ‘Redemptive Societies’ in Chinese History

    winter term 2015/16

    Masaryk University, Brno (Czech Republic)

    graduate class

  • An Introduction to Buddhism

    summer term 2020

    Institute for the Study of Religion, Leipzig University

  • Laughing Buddhas, Fighting Monks, and Fasting Believers: A Brief Introduction to Buddhism Within the Religious, Social and Political Lives of China

    summer term 2020

    Institute for the Study of Religion, Leipzig University

  • Introduction to the History of Religions

    summer term 2020

    Institute for the Stu