Faculty Travel Immersion Seminars


Faculty Travel Immersion Seminar: China, January 9-19, 2019

Asian Church Rising: Chinese Catholic Culture - Past Achievements, Present Concerns and Future Challenges

The Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture announces its 2019 Faculty Travel Immersion Seminar.  Each year the CCTC takes a small group of inter-disciplinary USD Faculty to a place connected in a broad sense with the Catholic intellectual and/or cultural and social traditions.  This year the Travel Seminar will take place in China (Xi'an, Shijiazhuang, and Beijing.) The trip will take place on January 9 - January 19, with travel days of January 9th and 19th.
Christianity in Asia is exploding. Some forecasters suggest that by 2035 China will have the largest number of Christians in the world. Currently, Christians make up about 5% of the population of China. Protestant Christianity is expanding more rapidly than Catholicism, but the Catholic Church continues to grow as well, numbering nearly 12 million. Pope Francis has made the Church in China one of his top diplomatic priorities.

The Catholic Church has roots in China that go back as early as the 8th century, but evangelization began in earnest in the 16th century. The most famous missionary was Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci who arrived in China in the late 16th century. Ricci immersed himself in Chinese culture and in the Chinese intellectual traditions, adopting Chinese ways and dress. He sought to make Christianity more accessible and less foreign to the Chinese. His methods have been the source of controversy ever since giving rise to the Chinese Rites controversy which perplexed the Church for centuries.

Since the Communist takeover of China in 1949, another controversy has developed. Two expressions of Catholic Church exist in China—the Patriotic Association (recognized by the Chinese government and organized independent of Rome) and the Underground Church, which refuses to register with the Communist government and is in communion with the Pope. Pope Francis is working towards reconciling the two churches.

This seminar will examine the cultural divides in Chinese Catholicism from both the historical vantage point and the contemporary. We will visit the cities of Xi’an, Shijiazhuang, and Beijing exploring Catholic China as well as some of the major cultural sites including the Terra Cotta Warriors, and the Great Wall. Participants will come to understand that the growth of the Church in China clearly reflects the truth that the Catholic Church is a World Church.

The seminar is facilitated by experts in the field and involves a pre-seminar program of preparatory academic readings. Each Faculty member selected to participate produces an academic paper upon return, which is presented, on campus in a series of follow-up presentations and additional collegial gatherings and discussions take place to continue the dialogue and strong links formed by the group during their trip.

If selected, participation will be dependent upon prior agreement to attend preliminary information and preparation sessions and also to attend post-seminar follow-up sessions, including the production and presentation of a formal paper as a result of the seminar.

Applications are open to all full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, and full-time visiting faculty with multi-year appointments will also be considered, space permitting and will be accepted on or before June 11, 2018.* Successful applicants will be informed by June 27th.

*As a general rule, any faculty member who has already participated in a previous travel seminar is ineligible to benefit from this program a second time.
For more information, please email us at cctc@sandiego.edu, or call us at (619) 260-7936. 

Past Seminars

Begin quote The experience of sharing the [Faculty Travel Immersion Seminar] with my USD colleagues was a highlight. This trip created fellowship amongst a very diverse group of individuals and I will always be grateful for that. – Evelyn Diaz Cruz, participant in the 2010 travel seminar