Communal Secularization in a Secularist State: Religious Change among Hui Muslims in Northwest China since the 1990s

Chang Liu, The New School for Social Research

More and more scholars have realized the complexities and varieties of both secularity and secularization in different social environments, due to the “cross-national variability of historical contingency of the secularization process” (Gorski and Altinordu 2008: 59). Despite the growing interest in the multiple secularities (Wohlrab-Sahr and Burchardt: 2012), however, very little research has examined the secularities and secularization process in the non-Western context (Gorski and Altinordu 2008: 62), and fewer attempts have been made to investigate the secularization of minority religious communities within non-Western societies. Drawing on previous ethnographic fieldwork undertaken in Ningxia, China in 2018, this paper is a preliminary attempt to explore the religious change and secularization process of Hui Muslims in northwest China since the 1990s and uses it as a case study to examine the validity of the secularization model mainly based on the Christian Western context as well as its approach and main elements, such as the differentiation, rationalization, and worldliness (Tschannen 1991), in a minority religious community within a non-Western society.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 223. State-Religion Relations at the Border