Paul Crowe joined Simon Fraser University's Department of Humanities in 2006 after receiving his Ph.D. in Asian Studies from UBC in 2005. Under the supervision of Daniel L. Overmyer he completed a dissertation analysing the interplay of Daoist, Buddhist and Literati (Ru) approaches to self-cultivation in the work of the Yuan dynasty teacher Li Daochun. His early interest in European and American (pragmatic) philosophy continues and, in his teaching, translation and analytical work, he often finds the contrasts between differing cultural perspectives on the human condition and the world of experience generate helpful insights.
Presently his work is divided between two major projects:
The first English translation of a seminal thirteenth century Daoist inner alchemy (neidan) text is being prepared based on the version included in the fifteenth century Zhengtong Daoist Canon. This work will provide insight into the dynamic and complex religious and intellectual interplay of Yuan dynasty elites during a time when the Mongol minority had taken control of China.
The second project, in its early stages, will lead to to a book on the history of a small network of Daoist organizations in Canada and Hong Kong. Work has been ongoing in Canada over the past two years. Preliminary work was begun in Hong Kong in the summer of 2008 which included interviews, participant observation and the gathering of many "spirit writing" texts. These are new scriptures recorded by individuals, usually women, who are able to communicate with popular deities. While in a deep meditative state texts are "dictated" in a ritual context and written in sand before transcription to paper. Based on Crowe's translation work, interviews and participation in Daoist ritual the book will examine the literature, liturgy and institutional configuration of these groups in Hong Kong and Canada and examine both continuities and innovation in light of the history of immigration. The aim will be to provide a rich portrait of these groups which will shed light on how varying historical circumstances of successive waves of immigration to Canada affect adaptation, broad social engagement and spiritual practice.
As Director of the David Lam Centre, Crowe is privileged to work with the dedicated members of the Steering Committee to move in some new research directions while honouring and continuing the twenty-year legacy of the founding Director, Professor Emeritus Jan Walls. Work will continue to focus on building intercultural understanding and appreciation and continuing to build on strong relationships with old friends in the local community as well as in Asia and to welcome cooperation with new friends who share our aspirations.