International Daoism Conference

A major conference on Daoism is returning to Boston next year. For information on registration and paper submission, see below.

Daoism: Tradition and Transition
9th International Conference on Daoist Studies

Boston University, May 30- June 1, 2014

For the last ten years, the series of international conferences on Daoist Studies has been instrumental in enhancing the study, application, and awareness of Daoism throughout the world. The only major Daoist conference series, it follows a tradition that began in Boston (2003) and continued through Mt. Qingcheng (2004), Fraueninsel in Bavaria (2006), Hong Kong (2007), Mt. Wudang (2009), Los Angeles (2010), Mt. Nanyue (2011), and Ammersee Lake near Munich (2012). In honor of its great success and as a tribute to Boston University for the initial conference, the 9th International Conference on Daoist Studies will take place once again at Boston University.

This year’s conference theme is “Daoism: Tradition and Transition.” The focus is on Daoist thought, history, and practice—with particular attention to the impact Daoism has exercised in Chinese history and the contemporary world. Panel topics include Daodejing, Zhuangzi, Huainanzi, Ge Hong, Daoism in Taiwan, Teaching Daoism through film, and many others more.

Sponsors: Boston University Department of Religion, Boston University Center for the Study of Asia, Boston University College of Arts and Science.

Conference Organizers

  • Livia Kohn, Professor Emerita, Boston University
  • Thomas Michael, Boston University
  • John Berthrong, Boston University

Steering Committee (alphabetical):

  • Shin-yi Chao, University of Rochester
  • Eske Mollgard, University of Rhode Island
  • David Mozina, Boston College
  • Eric Nelson, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Robert C. Neville, Boston University
  • Michael Puett, Harvard University
  • Gil Raz, Dartmouth College
  • Harold D. Roth, Brown University


Keynote Speakers:

  • Lai Chi Tim 黎志添, Chairman of the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, and Director of the Centre for Studies of Daoist Culture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Author of: Guangdong Local Daoism: Daoist Temple, Master, and Ritual (Chinese University Press, 2007).
  • Xun Liu, Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University. Author of: Daoist Modern: Innovation, Lay Practice and the Community of Inner Alchemy in Republican Shanghai (Harvard University Press, 2009).

Format: The conference commences on Friday morning with an opening plenary session, immediately followed by two keynote speeches. It ends on Sunday afternoon with a closing plenary session. There are nine sessions (three on Friday, four on Saturday, and two on Sunday), each consisting of three break-out panels and one workshop. There will be a reception on Friday night, and a movie screening on Saturday night.

Break-out Panels: Three 20-minute individual paper presentations on the panel theme, followed by discussant’s 20-minute response and participant’s questions (13⁄4 hours).

Workshops: Emphasis on practice and experience (13⁄4 hours).

Forums: An opportunity to read a particular text with a group of learned scholars. Presenters post their text on the web a month ahead of time for participants to study; hour session for discussion

Languages: Conference sessions will be in English and/or Chinese. Please refer to the conference program for each session. Presentation abstracts can be submitted in either language.

Registration: Email to

  • Name
  • Institution
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Paper title
  • Abstract

Conference Fee and Payment: To hold a slot on the program (for paper presentation) and/or if you wish to participate in the banquet, the conference fee (US$80) needs to be paid in advance. It is refundable at 50% until March 1, 2014.

Credit card:—send to ($2.60 fee; use “send money to family or friends”). Free if you have a PayPal account already.

Check to “L. Kohn (Conf.)” Mail to P.O. Box 530416, St. Petersburg, FL 33747.

On-site Registration: Participants who choose to attend without giving a paper may register on-site. The fee for all three days is $80. It is also possible to register for single days: US $35 each for Friday or Saturday, $30 for Sunday. Note: If you want to participate in the banquet, register early.


  • March 1, 2014: fee goes up to US $100.00
  • May 1, 2014: abstracts for papers due
  • May 10, 2014: schedule and abstracts e-mailed and posted

Scholarships: Some scholarships will be provided from the proceeds of this and last year’s conference. A scholarship includes a fee waiver plus a share of travel expenses. Applicants should be within three years of completing the Ph.D. (before or after). To apply, please send registration information, plus status of Ph.D. and name of advisor, as well as draft abstract of paper to

Room and Board: Participants make their own housing arrangements. Recommended sites include:

  • (several BU dorms used for hostels in the summer)
  • (cheap and practical accommodation, including also hotels)
  • (private rooms with breakfast in people’s houses)

6 thoughts on “International Daoism Conference

  1. It sort of sounds as though the right to present a paper can be bought outright for $80 until the slots are filled, and then cannot be had for love or money. Is that it?

    • Hi Bill, I have not been to any of the conferences in this series, so can’t speak to the quality of the presentations. As far as I can tell, there does not seem to be any review procedure for submitted abstracts/papers.

  2. Actually, these conjectures are not the case at all. The conference organizers, the steering committee, and panel chairs review the submissions before choosing which ones to include and then dividing the chosen papers into academic papers – of which there are many and of good quality – and various practitioner reports.

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