Wang Yang

      WANG YANG 汪洋

      PhD Student (Admitted in 2022 – 2023)
      Field Area: Asian Religious Connections


      Wang Yang is a PhD student in the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS) at The University of Hong Kong. Before entering into the PhD program, he completed his bachelor’s (in Economics and Finance) and master’s (in East Asian Studies) at McGill University. His master’s thesis entitled “Building the Temple, Building the Boutique: The Logic Behind the Daci Temple-Commerce Agglomeration” is a case study of the Chengdu Taikoo Li and Daci Temple, in which he identifies an emerging model for culture-led redevelopments in contemporary Chinese cities. Tentatively, for his PhD project, under the co-supervision of Prof. David A. Palmer and Dr. Qian Junxi, Yang will continue his research on the “Temple-Commerce Agglomeration” by incorporating cases in Wuhan (Yuanyang Li and Guiyuan Temple) and Xi’an (Taikoo Li and Small Wild Goose Pagoda).



      G07, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong
      Tel: (852) 3917-5907

      Sharing & Experiences

      Wang Yang aspires to be trained as an anthropologist. He conducted a six-month fieldwork in Chengdu for his master’s thesis, during which time he volunteered at the Daci Temple as a member of the temple community. While he observed the everyday encounters between temple volunteers and touristic pilgrims, he was also actively involved in such interactions. According to him, within the setting of the “Temple-Commerce Agglomeration”, these interactions among urbanites (volunteers, consumers, tourists, pilgrims, etc.) not only testify to a unique mode of “doing” religion, but also inform how urban temples are administered in the everyday life. As he argues, studying the agency of the temple as well as the agency of those involved in these interactions requires a more nuanced way of observing urban temples that serve as major tourist sites. Essentially, his research aims to complicate the image or the impression that Buddhist sites in contemporary Chinese cities are overly “commercialized and commodified”.

      Research Interests

      Buddhism in contemporary China; volunteerism at religious sites; urban land and housing; culture-led redevelopments; neoliberalism and China

      Thesis Project

      [Tentative] Temple-Commerce Agglomeration: Urban Identities, Touristic Pilgrimage, and Temple Agency in the Everyday Life of Chinese Urbanites


      Yang is finalizing an article draft based on his master’s thesis

      Thesis Supervisors

      Primary supervisor: Professor David A. Palmer

      Co-supervisor: Professor Qian Junxi