May Hall

      FAN ZIWEI 范紫微

      MPhil student (Admitted in 2021 – 2022)
      Field Area: Anthropology


      G09, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong
      Tel: (852) 3917-5909
      Fax: (852) 2559-6143

      Sharing & Experiences

      As a mature student, I am highly self-motivated, scientifically trained, interdisciplinary-minded.

      I have three periods of unique experience about myself. Firstly, I grew up in Chengdu, mainland China, near a sacred Daoist mountain, Qingchengshan (青城山), where I have a childhood fascination and form a research interest for me at an early age. Secondly, I studied, worked, and lived in the United Kingdom for seven years, where I obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degrees (a BSc in maths at the University of Bristol, an MSc in Environmental Technology at the Imperial College London). Thirdly, after going back to mainland China, I was trained from my interdisciplinary industrial working experience in mainland China for another six years: I was an environmental educator for British and Chinese schools; an environmental consultant in PwC for HK and Mailand China listed corporations; and a professional in social impact investment between China and U.K. Most importantly, I am a bridge-builder and English interpreter between the female Daoist monastics community in Mt Qingcheng and the Western pilgrims.

      In the summer of 2015, I carried a six-month close participatory observation on one particular female Daoist for her contemporary monastic life in Mt Qingcheng. Such six-month monastic life enables me to directly access the female Daoist monastic community as an insider of the first-hand experience. I followed her daily practice routine, which consisted of six hours of morning and evening Daoist practice. Each session included one hour in Daoist reciting rituals in Dao De Jing and Scripture on the Hidden Talisman, along with two hours of sitting meditation. Since then, I have established six years of relationship with the female monastic community as an English interpreter and cross-culture bridge-builder, including conducted participatory observations on key Daoist events of rituals, ceremonies, and Daoist international academic conferences. Thus, I collected a large amount of ethnographic data on more than 50 interviews with key stakeholders in transitional encounters, e.g. Chinese Daoist study circles, Western spiritual practitioners community, Western scholars in Chinese culture and philosophy from North American and Europe.

      Now, I have a calling to improve myself scholarly for intellectual pursuit. Such a decision for going back to the academic world has not been made lightly. Since graduated, I have been to the world, I can easily and comfortably continue this path, but I think there is a limit. I realized that I value intellectual pursuit more, and I want to fly high to have a bigger picture for the unity of humanity. I want to go back to my childhood fascination with Daoist sacred Mt Qingcheng, and analyze a full hand of the ethnographic data I collected.

      Research Interests

      Daoist ontology of gender;
      contemporary female monastic experience;
      transnational spiritual encounters;
      Daoist astronomy and cosmology

      Thesis Project

      The Transmission of the Daoat Mt. Qingcheng: Transnational Spiritual Encounters among Female Daoists, Western Scholars, and Western Pilgrims

      My research project will investigate the transmission of Dao at Mt. Qingcheng from a gender dimension, which I focus on the transnational spiritual encounters among female Daoists, western scholars, and western pilgrims. 

      I wish to make some original ethnographic contributions, including bridging the gap between an understudied area in contemporary female monastic experience and historical literature of female Daoism; also enriching anthropological accounts of the Daoist ontology of gender.


      In the last six years, I acted as a culture bridge-builder and English interpreter between the Western scholars and female Daoist monastics community in Mt Qingcheng.

      I co-authored one Chinese article on a local governmental magazine (《都江堰》第106期,2016年02期,《美国哲学教授的问道青城山之旅》) on philosophical discourses between an American feminist scholar and several female Daoists from Mt Qingcheng, including topics of the Daoist ontology of gender, ecology, and Daoist women.

      Thesis Supervisors

      Primary supervisor: Professor David A. Palmer

      Co-supervisor: Dr. Izumi Nakayama