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Eric ReindersDirector of Undergraduate Studies. Associate Professor

Eric Reinders specializes in Chinese religion, Christian missionary cultures, religion and the body, and religion and fantasy. His first book is Borrowed Gods and Foreign Bodies: Christian Missionaries Imagine Chinese Religion (University of California Press, 2004) sought to understand how the bodily experiences of missionaries conditioned their representations of Chinese religion.

His second book is Buddhism and Iconoclasm in East Asia: A History (co-written with Fabio Rambelli of UCSB; Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2012) examines the destruction, damage, defacement, and redefinition of sacred objects in East Asia.

His third book, Buddhist and Christian Responses to the Kowtow Problem in China (Bloomsbury, 2015), dealt mostly with Buddhist debates over bowing, but also compared Buddhist and Christian objections to obeisance. His fourth and least "academic" book, The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki (McFarland, 2016) is a series of philosophical and artistic reflections on the major films of the great director Miyazaki.

His current book project will be titled Religion, Fantasy and Translation: Reading Tolkien in Chinese, consisting of both a theoretical inquiry into the intersection of those three key terms, and an exploration of the very different Middle-earths that emerge from the multiple Chinese translations of The Lord of the Rings and others.


  • PhD, University of California - Santa Barbara, 1997
  • MPhil, University of Hull, 1987
  • BA, University of Hull, 1981

Research and Teaching

  • Chinese religions
  • Religion and fantas
  • Religion and translatio
  • Iconoclasm