Ursula Angelika Cedzich obtained her Ph.D. in East Asian
Studies in 1987 from the University of Würzburg (Germany) with a dissertation
on the liturgy of the early Daoist Celestial Master Movement. She was one of
the core contributors to the European Daozang Project, the results of which, an
analytical catalogue of the vast textual canon of Daoism, were published in
2004 by the University of Chicago Press, in The Taoist Canon: A Historical Companion to the Daozang, edited by Kristofer Schipper and Franciscus Verellen.
Before she came to the U.S., she studied, did fieldwork, and worked in Taiwan
and Japan. She has published articles on the history of Daoism, Daoist
immortality conceptions, iconography, and Chinese popular religion. She has
been working for years on the so-called Thunder Rites, a genre of Daoist ritual
that, from about the 12th century on, gained prominence in the
broader landscape of Chinese religion—targeting maleficent influences in nature
(including the climate) as well as in human life. While the chief agency in
these Thunder Rites is attributed to a motley army of warrior gods reflecting
not only Daoist, but also Confucian, Buddhist, and “pagan religious” Chinese
features, the deities are thought to spring to life only through the
physiological and meditative practices of adepts and priests typically
classified as Daoist. Dr. Cedzich’s hopes to understand more about religion in
China by tracing the complex religious, ritual, and cultural
interrelationships—and the specific internal techniques—giving life to the
warrior gods in those Daoist Thunder Rites (which are a part of Chinese
religion even today).
- Chinese Religion
- Chinese Buddhism
- Chinese Popular Religion
Courses Frequently Taught
- REL 143 "The Buddhist Experience"
- REL 241 "Religion in Chinese History, Society and Culture"
- REL 245 "Religion in Japanese History, Society and Culture"
- REL 246 "Traditions of Chinese Popular Culture"
- REL 247 "Literature and Religion in Japan"