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Pinyuan Li

MA work

The Contemporary Domestic Material Culture of Protestant Christianity in Beijing, China

The dissertation explores the contemporary domestic material culture of Protestant Christianity in Beijing. The general discussion of 'Christianity in China' seems to be a hybrid topic which involves a mix of Eastern and Western cultures, values and ideologies; however, Christianity and traditional Chinese beliefs might not always be opposites. By some estimates, China is on track to reach the largest population of Christians by 2030, therefore, it is important to view Chinese Christianity as part of a world-wide phenomenon.

What is it like be a Christian in an atheistic country that built its traditional society and culture based on Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism, and was ruled under the ideology of Maoist Thought and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics? Through investigation of the topic, I aim to seek possible answers on how Chinese Christians use material culture to express their identities in domestic spaces such as their homes. To be more specific, the dissertation explores in what ways traditional Chinese culture and Christian beliefs overlap, contradict or blend with each other through the things that people have in their daily lives. The research draws insights from my interviews of eight Chinese protestants who live in Beijing.

Each protestant’s unique and precious experience with Christianity formed the essential contribution to this dissertation, their stories are able to show some facets of being a Christian in today’s China, and raise important questions of hybridity and ambiguity in negotiating their identities as Chinese Christians in daily life.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2019

  • Pinyuan Li is a design historian with interests in East Asian material culture and contemporary art. Her MA research focuses on the contemporary domestic material culture of Protestant Christianity in Beijing, China. Through investigation of the topic, she aims to seek possible answers on how Chinese Christians use material culture to express their identities in domestic spaces such as their homes. The dissertation explores in what ways traditional Chinese culture and Christian beliefs overlap, contradict or blend with each other through the things that people have in their daily lives.

    Pinyuan was trained as an Industrial Designer with interests in museum experience and contemporary art. She has worked in the news industry where she translated art news articles for Chinese readers. 

  • Degrees

  • MFA Industrial Design, California College of the Arts, 2016
  • Experience

  • Volunteer, V&A Museum