Dan Smyer Yu is an anthropologist of religion specializing in the studies of religious revitalizations, charismatic communities, commercialization of religious spirituality, and the relationship between eco-religious practices and place-making in contemporary China. He received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California at Davis. Prior to his joining Max Planck, he was a New Millennium Scholar and the Associate Director of the Ethnic Minority Study Center of China at Minzu University of China.
His publications are mostly concerned with modern transformations of religious practices in China in relation to globalization, the state, and market. His book The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: Charisma, Money, Enlightenment (Routledge 2011) results from one of his cross-regional and cross-institutional ethnographic research projects. Currently he is writing his second book concerning the intersections of religion, nation, and nationalism in the context of modern Sino-Tibetan interactions. It addresses how land, place-making, nostalgia, modernity, imagination, and representation are entwined in both rural and urban settings of contemporary China.
In addition to his research writing, Dr. Smyer Yu has also made an ethnographic film titled Embrace, which documents Amdo Tibetans’ narratives concerning folk religious practices and their ecological significances. It is nominated for award at the Beijing International Film Festival in 2011.
Focusing on contemporary Tibetan Buddhist revivals in the Tibetan regions of the Sichuan and Qinghai Provinces in China, this book explores the intricate entanglements of the Buddhist revivals with cultural identity, state ideology, and popular imagination...