Appel : Numéro spécial, revue « Religions ». Date limite : 1ᵉʳ octobre 2024

Mar 20, 2024 | Financements, bourses, postes, appels

Revue Religions

Préparation d’un numéro spécial sur le thème : Beyond the “Spice Routes”: Indic and Sinitic Religions across the Asian Maritime Realm.

As it is increasingly recognized by recent scholarship, the maritime realm, rather than creating a barrier, favoured short- and long-distance mobility: it not only connected individuals and societies across Asia, but also played a role in shaping the imaginaries, cosmologies, and ritual practices of people interacting with the sea. The exchange of Indic ideas, technologies, and artistic styles across coastal and archipelagic southeastern rim of Asia—a historically highly interconnected and entangled region that here we refer to as “Maritime Asia”—that led to the dissemination of Hindu and Buddhist art and architecture along with the creation, diffusion, and preservation of textual archives from at least the early centuries of the Common Era was unprecedented on the global stage in both its scale and impact. At the same time, Sinitic religious systems—i.e., various currents of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism— and textual canons projected their influence to the eastern rim of Asia as well as Tibet and coastal mainland Southeast Asia (i.e., present Vietnam). Thus, the constellation of Indic and Sinitic normative systems, philosophies, cosmologies, and mythologies that intersected across Maritime Asia can be considered among the most powerful, long-lasting, and deep-penetrating unifying factors in the history of this region.

Emphasising the transmission of religious knowledge, practices, and material culture, from elite esoteric texts and royal icons to “folk” cults and everyday ritual and devotional objects, or again from mathematical and astronomical knowledge to textile technology, the body of work presented in the Special Issue will challenge traditional accounts based on the primacy of trade (for instance, of commodities such as silk or spices, which have resulted in such expressions as “Silk Roads” or “Spice Routes”) and highlight the sea as a crossroad and catalyser of religious transactions. In doing so, it aims to reveal the still understudied networks of actors—such as ritual specialists, monks, wonderworkers, healers, pilgrims, diplomats, merchants, etc.—who travelled by sea to secure royal sponsorship, proselityse, search for manuscripts and oral teachings, build temples and monastic communities, and visit sacred sites. Apart from contributing to the transmission and multi-directional circulation of Indic and Sinitic religions across Maritime Asia, those actors became the cultural brokers who connected far away lands and cultures, and the prime vectors of innovations from the “centres” to the “peripheries” and—more often than it has been hitherto admitted—from the ”peripheries” to the ”centres”.

Taking as its chronological framework the medieval period and stretching to the early modern period, this Special Issue will gather studies from both macro- and micro-historical perspectives as well as disciplines, including religious studies, history, art history, textual studies, and Area Studies. The contributions will explore the cross-cultural interactions occurred across the maritime spaces of the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea and their surrounding landmasses, which played a pivotal role as crossroads in the traffic of ideas, religious beliefs, and ritual practices, but will also be anchored in local contexts, for instance Java (and, more generally, archipelagic Southeast Asia). In so doing, the Special Issue will provide a broad platform for comparisons with the transmission of Indic religions, for instance Buddhism, across the better-known Central Asian routes and the respective cultural entanglements. Furthermore, it will also promote the transcendance of the artificial spatial demarcations of nation-states and macro-regions elaborated within the Area Studies paradigm, promote a transregional methodological approach; and encourage a disciplinary cross-fertilization.

Contributions are sought on Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Indic/Sinitic “folk” religions across Asia, with a special attention to the aspects of circulation and displacement, maritime pilgrimage and migration, cross-cultural exchanges, cross-religious interactions, as well as the influence of the sea on cosmopolitan and local epistemologies.


Acri, Andrea. 2016. Esoteric Buddhism in Mediaeval Maritime Asia; Networks of Masters, Texts, Icons, xvi + 468 pp. Singapore: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute.

Acri, Andrea. 2019. “Imagining Maritime Asia”, in A. Acri, M.K. Jha, S. Mukherjee, and K. Ghani (eds.), Imagining Asia(s): Networks, Agents, Sites, pp. 36–59. Singapore: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute.

Acri, Andrea, and Peter Sharrock (eds.) 2022. The Creative South: Buddhist and Hindu Art in Medieval Maritime Asia. 2 vols. Singapore: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute.

Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. 2022. “Beyond the Mainland: Buddhist Communities in Maritime Southeast Asia“, special issue, Religions, 13.

Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. 2020. Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity across the South China Sea. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dean, Kenneth. 2020. “Chinese Temples and Rituals in Southeast Asia“, special issue of Religions, 11.

Kim, Sujung. 2020. Shinra Myōjin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian “Mediterranean”. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Rambelli, Fabio (ed.). 2018. The Sea and the Sacred in Japan: Aspects of Maritime Religion. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Sen, Tansen. Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations, 600–I400. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2002.

Vörös, Erika Erzsébet. 2022. “Korean Potalaka: Legends about Naksan Temple Examined through Mountain and Sea Worship“, Religions 13(8), 691;

Dr. Andrea Acri
Dr. Francesco Bianchini
Guest Editors

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  • Indian Ocean studies
  • maritime history
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Confucianism
  • folk religions
  • maritime Asia
  • maritime silk roads

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