THEO 169Spring


In each stage of its development, religious Daoism was always closely linked with and exerted profound influence upon the politics, economy, culture, art, natural sciences, and social life.
Sai Han 赛汉
Course Introduction
Sai Han 赛汉
Sai Han 赛汉Ph.D. Minzu University of China

Dr. Sai is an Associate Professor at Beijing Language and Culture University. She has been the Chinese Director of Confucius Institute in the Catholic University of Milan (Italy),  Guest Researcher at the Overseas Academic and Cultural Exchanges (COASE) of Tsinghua University and Ethnic Minority Study Centre of China (EMSCOC) of Minzu University of China, China. She was a visiting scholar at University of Freiburg in Switzerland (2010) and the Center of Religion, Culture and World Civilization in Boston University (2007–2008). She earned a Doctor’s degree in Anthropology at Minzu University of China and worked as postdoctoral research fellow in the Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology


This course is accredited through Loyola University Chicago
Download Syllabus

Course Description

Together with Buddhist and Confucianism, Daoism played an important role in the forming of Chinese civilization. While as the only indigenous religion among the three, Daoism is hard to define. It permeated almost every aspect of Chinese life, from the imperial court, upper class to the beliefs and customs of the lower class; from pre-modern era to the 21st century China. In each stage of its development, Daoism linked closely with politics, art, natural science and social life of the Chinese people and society

Starting from Laozi and his Tao-te Ching, the most translated work in world literatures besides the Bible, the main goal of the course will be to understand various aspects of Daoism and familiarize the students with the theological and ritual foundations of Daoism.  The founding, development, and modernity of Daoism will be introduced to the students. Besides, one field trip, one classroom dialogue with a Daoist and one movie discussion will also be included. The course concludes with reflections on the nature of Daoism and the way it has been perceived and interpreted by modern scholars and common people.

Courses Outcomes

  • Students are required to have a general knowledge of early Daoist thinkers and their teachings in historical context;
  • Students should be familiar with the main phases and development in Daoist doctrine and practices;
  • Students should have an awareness of the social-cultural impact of Daoism within Chinese culture and how its ideas and practices influenced traditional Chinese society.