Centre for the Study of East Asian Religions in Europe

The Centre for the Study of East Asian Religions in Europe located at the University of Vienna's Department of Religious Studies brings together a range of international scholars from various disciplines involving Religious Studies, East Asian Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, and History and employing a range of methodological and theoretical approaches, to engage in research on the subject. 

The Centre serves as a platform to foster scholarly conversation and collaboration on the impact of religions from Greater China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam in the European context. Grounded on a non-normative perspective on religion, it joins scholarly efforts to de-fragmentate this subfield of studies, redress existing gaps in research and literature, and contribute to a wider circulation of regional scholarship on this subject.

Thematically speaking, besides research on traditional East Asian Buddhism and its lay organizations, it aims to promote explorations of non-Buddhist traditions and new religious movements, and the religious implications of informal spiritualities and healing/bodily cultivation practices originating in East Asia. It also calls for more attention on the religious practices of East Asian immigrant communities, the presence and scope of reimported forms of Christianity that have undergone significant adaptations in East Asia and, more in general, on inter-religious encounters and hybridizations between local cultures and East Asian religious forms. 

From a methodological/conceptual viewpoint, the Centre aims to promote research on East Asian religions also in European countries and areas that have been thus far relatively overlooked (e.g., Eastern Europe), a full exploitation of the advantages offered by inter-disciplinarity and multi-disciplinarity, and the creative use of empirical data aimed to develop innovative theoretical approaches to this subject.  

The Centre's host institution accommodates one of the best-stocked research libraries in Europe and maintains a growing and almost unique special collection of primary sources pertaining to East Asian (i.e., Chinese/Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese) religions.

Funded Research

The Centre presently hosts an FWF-funded research project on "Glocal Buddhas: Exploring the Interplay of East Asian Buddhism and Globalization in Austria and Italy" (June 2022–May 2025; €373.044,00).

Ongoing and Future Projects

Upcoming publications include a special issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (WoS/Scopus) on "Exploring East Asian Religions in Europe" published with Brill, and an edited volume (Brill) on East Asian Religions in the European Union.

Members of the Centre are currently preparing an ERC Synergy Grant to be submitted for the 2023 call.

One of the medium-term objectives of the Centre is to provide a meaningful contribution to the mapping of East Asian religions and forms of religiosity in all European countries and the creation of a comprehensive public database.


The Centre will host its Annual Workshop in June 2023 at the University of Vienna's Department of Religious Studies.