Asian Religions in the Covidian Age

by Emily Zoe HertzmanNatalie LangErica M. LarsonCarola E. Lorea

By the summer of 2020, when the coronavirus had fully entered our everyday vocabulary and our lives, religious communities and places of worship around the world were already undergoing profound changes. In Asian and Asian diaspora communities, diverse cultural tropes, beliefs, and artifacts were mobilized to make sense of Covid, including a repertoire of gods and demons like Coronasur, the virus depicted with the horns and fangs of a traditional Hindu demon. Various kinds of knowledge were invoked: theologies, indigenous medicines, and biomedical narratives, as well as ethical values and nationalist sentiments. CoronAsur: Asian Religions in the Covidian Age follows the documentation and analysis of the abrupt societal shifts triggered by the pandemic to understand current and future pandemic times, while revealing further avenues for research on religion that have opened up in the Covidian age.

Developed in tandem with the research blog CoronAsur: Religion and COVID-19, this volume is a “phygital” publication, a work grounded in empirical roots as well as digitally born communication. It comprises thirty-eight essays and dozens of videos and other online content that examine Asian religious communities—Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Daoist, and Christian as well as popular/folk and new religious movements, or NRMs—in terms of the changes brought on by and the ritual responses to the Covid pandemic.

Studying religious narratives, practices, and changes in the Covidian age adds to our understanding of not only the specific groups in which they are situated, but also the coronavirus itself, its disputed etiologies and culturally contextualized exegeses. CoronAsur offers a comprehensive and timely discussion of Covidian transformations in religious communities’ engagements with media, spaces, and moral and political economies, documenting how religious practices and discourses have co-produced the meanings of the pandemic.

Contributors: Fatema Aarshe, Yasmeen Arif, Indira Arumugam, Swayam Bagaria, Raka Banerjee, Malini Bhattacharjee, Md. Khaled Bin Oli Bhuiyan, Chang Hsun, Jack Meng-Tat Chia, Terence Chong, Ankana Das, Deepsikha Dasgupta, Nia Deliana, Beverly Anne Devakishen, Mariano Errichiello, Amelia Fauzia, Nalika Gajaweera, Kanchana Dodan Godage, Daniel P.S. Goh, Emily Zoe Hertzman, Siti Zubaidah Ismail, Nurul Fadiah Johari, Sinah Theres Kloß, Natalie Lang, Erica M. Larson, Lei Ting, Alvin Eng Hui Lim, Lim Peng Chew, Marianna Lis, Carola E. Lorea, Neena Mahadev, Muhammad Lutfi Bin Othman, Mukul Pandey, Dishani Roy, Louie Jon A. Sánchez, Shen Yeh-Ying, Yuki Shiozaki, Show Ying Ruo, Esmond Chuah Meng Soh, Tran Thi Thuy Binh, Vo Duy Thanh, Dean Wang, Catherine West, Lynn Wong, Faizah Zakaria, Saymon Zakaria, Philipp Zehmisch, Zhao Yuanhao, and Yijiang Zhong.

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    CoronAsur - Asian Religions in the Covidian Age

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    Chapter 26

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    Chapter 39

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    Chapter 38

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    Chapter 37

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    Chapter 36


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