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Huaiyu Chen

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Affiliated Faculty
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302

Huaiyu Chen is an associate professor of religious studies at the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, with a joint appointment at the School of International Letters and Cultures. He has also held several visiting positions in North America, Europe, and Asia, such as a membership of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2011-2012, a Spalding Visiting Fellowship at Clare Hall of Cambridge University in 2014-2015, and a visiting professorship at Beijing Normal University in June-July 2015. 

  • Ph.D. Princeton University 2005
  • M.A. Beijing University
  • B.A. Beijing Normal University
Research Interests

My research interests span Buddhism and Nestorian Christianity, and medieval Chinese social and cultural history. I am also interested in modern intellectual history, in particular, the cultural construction of religious studies as an academic discipline in modern China.


  • “Honoring the Dead: The Buddhist Reinvention of Portrait Eulogies in Early Medieva China,” in: Mu-chou Poo and H. A. Drake eds., Old Society, New Belief: Religious Transformation of China and Rome, ca. 1st-6th Centuries, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 91-105. 
  • “The Benji jing and the Anle jing: Reflections on Two Daoist and Christian Manuscripts from Turfan and Dunhuang.” Studies in Chinese Religions Vol. 1, No. 3 (2015), pp. 209- 228.
  • Huaiyu Chen and Liu Zhen. Some reflections on an early Mahayana text Hastikak?yasutra. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (2014).
  • Huaiyu Chen. East Asian Transformation of Monasticism. Blackwell Companion to East and Inner Asian Buddhism (2014).
  • Huaiyu Chen. Multiple Traditions in One Ritual: A Reading of the Buddhist Liturgical Texts for Lantern Ritual in Dunhuang Manuscripts. Buddhism across Asia: Networks of Material, Intellectual and Cultural Exchange (2014).
  • Huaiyu Chen. The Rise and Decline of the Scriptural Platforms in Medieval Chinese Buddhism. Material Religion (2013).
  • Huaiyu Chen. Society and Religious Patronage along the Silk Road: The Inscriptional Evidence from Turfan. Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook (2013).
  • Huaiyu Chen. Newly Identified Khotanese Buddhist Fragments in the British Library and their Chinese Parallels. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (2012).
  • Huaiyu Chen. Animals in Medieval Chinese Political and Religious Order. (2012).
  • Huaiyu Chen. A Brief Note on the Khotanese Fragment SI M 38 in the St. Petersburg Collection. Manuscripta Orientalia (2010).
  • Huaiyu Chen. The Buddhist Classification of Animals and Plants in Tang China. Journal of Asian History (2009).
  • Huaiyu Chen. The Encounter of Nestorian Christianity with Tantric Buddhism in Medieval China. Hidden Treasures and Intercultural Encounters: Studies on East Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia (2009).
  • Huaiyu Chen. The Revival of Buddhist Monasticism in Medieval China. (2007).
  • Huaiyu Chen. The Connection between Nestorian and Buddhist Texts in Late Tang China. Jingjiao: The Church of the East in China and Central Asia (2006).
Research Activity
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
CHI 598Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 494Special Topics
CHI 598Special Topics
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 346Chinese Religions
REL 691Seminar
CHI 691Seminar
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 351Buddhism
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
CHI 598Special Topics
REL 690Reading and Conference
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 351Buddhism

1. October 26-28, 2017. “The Rise of the “Asian History” in Mainland China in the 1950s: A Global Perspective.” The Conference “Conceptions of the World in Twentieth-Century Chinese Historiography.” University of Göttingen, Germany.

2. August 20-25, 2017. “Liturgies for Creating Four Mandalas in Dunhuang Manuscripts.” The XVIIIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Toronto, Canada.

3. November 19-22, 2016. Discussant for Panel “Buddhist Art, Law, and Manuscript Culture in Dunhuang.” The Annual Conference of American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, Texas.

4. April 15, 2016. “Theory without Borders in Comparative Area Studies: Timing States in South and East Asia.” Symposium organized by the Department of Religion and Culture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

5. November 21-24, 2015. “Living with Tigers in Medieval Chinese Religions.” 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA.

Honors / Awards

2016. Research Grant. American Academy of Religion.

2014-2015. Spalding Visiting Fellowship, Clare Hall, Cambridge University.

2011-2012. Membership. Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

2008-2009. Junior Scholar Grant. Chiang Ching-kuo Founation for International Scholarly Exchange.


Professional Associations

American Academy of Religion Association for Asian Studies American Oriental Society International Association for Buddhist Studies

  • Journal of Jiangxi Culture (Nanchang), Editorial Board Member (2015 - Present)
  • Journal of Dunhuang Studies (Taiwan), Editorial Board Member (2015 - Present)
  • Studies in Chinese Religions (Routledge), Editorial Board Member (2014 - Present)
  • Singaporean Journal of Buddhist Studies, Editorial Board member (2012 - Present)
  • Journal of Humanities and Religious Studies, Editorial Board Member (2011 - Present)
  • Frontiers of History in China (Journal), Book Review Editor (2011 - Present)