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Deep Dive into Digital and Data Methods for Chinese Studies

The “Deep Dive” series is co-sponsored by the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies (LRCCS) and the Asia Library, and is co-directed by Mary Gallagher (Professor of Political Science and Director of LRCCS) and Liangyu Fu (Chinese Studies Librarian, Asia Library). Question about the series? Please email Liangyu Fu at

Deep Dive Winter 2020


Lecture: Historical Networks in Chinese Buddhism: The Role of the Daoan, Huiyuan and Kumārajīva Triangle

Speaker: Marcus Bingenheimer, Associate Professor in Religion, Temple University
Location: Clark Library Instructional Space (240 Hatcher Graduate Library)

Free and Open to the Public. Light refreshments will be provided.

Using a large SNA dataset for Chinese Buddhist history (c.17,000 actors) we will focus on the fountainhead of Chinese Buddhism - a constellation formed by three seminal figures: the monk Daoan, his student Huiyuan, and the Indian translator Kumārajīva. In the time between c.360 and 420 CE, each was at the center of an active community of collaborators and patrons. According to the available records, historical network analysis illustrates how the stable growth of Buddhism after the 4th century is a direct result of the activities of Daoan, Huiyuan and Kumārajīva and their students. Without the varied and influential activities of these three, Buddhism might have remained a religion of foreigners (like later Manichaeism and Nestorianism), or stayed a fad among aristocrats (like the xuanxue movement). I will also argue that the impact of the constellation should be considered a main reason for why Chinese Buddhism has always defined itself as Mahāyāna Buddhism.

Workshop: Tools and Data for Historical Network Analysis in the Study of Chinese Buddhism

Speaker: Marcus Bingenheimer, Associate Professor in Religion, Temple University
Location: ScholarSpace (206 Hatcher Graduate Library)

A light lunch will be provided. The classroom is equipped with laptops, but please feel free to bring your own.

Registration required, please click HERE to register if you are a U-M affiliate.
Non-U-M registrants should email Liangyu Fu at

Digital Scholarship Workshop Travel Grants: A limited number of travel grants are available to non-U-M affiliates in Chinese studies who wish to attend the workshop. Please note that the travel grant can be used to attend both the lecture and the workshop, but are dependent on scholars registering for and attending the workshop. For more information on the travel grants and how to apply, please click HERE.

This workshop is for students and scholars interested in using historical social network analysis for the study of East Asian Buddhism. We will use a large, freely-available historical dataset encoding the social relationships of Chinese Buddhists. The dataset covers some 20,000 monastics and lay-people and ranges in time from 100 CE to 1940 CE. We will use the open-source tool Gephi to visualize and filter the data. At the end of the workshop attendants will be able to visualize the social network of a person or a group in their time. Each link between actors is referenced to primary sources, such as biographies or gazetteers, and can therefore be used as starting point for further research.

Attendants of the workshop, if using their own laptops, should make sure to come with Gephi installed on their laptops.

Marcus Bingenheimer is Associate Professor in Religion at Temple University. His main research interests are the history of Buddhism in East Asia and early Buddhist sutra literature. Beyond Buddhist Studies, Marcus is interested in computational approaches to scholarship and how to do research in an age of digital information.