Anna Sun

Sociologist; 2015-17 Berggruen Fellow

Anna Sun, Associate Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Kenyon College, took her Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University in 2008. Sun’s research focuses on the revival of Confucianism as a religion in contemporary China. She also works on larger conceptual and methodological issues in the study of Chinese religions, as well as the relationship between religion and politics. In 2010-11 she was awarded a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she completed Confucianism as a World Religion: Contested Histories and Contemporary Realities (Princeton: 2013). This book received the “Distinguished Book Award” from the Sociology of Religion Section of the American Sociological Association, and the “Best First Book in the History of Religion Award” from the American Academy of Religion. Sun was a Co-Principal Investigator in the research project “The Empirical Study of Religions in China,” 2006-2009. She is currently a Co-Principal Investigator in the project “The Concept of Fu (Blessed Happiness) in Contemporary China: Searching for Well-Being, Purpose, and the Good Life,” 2013-2016, for which she has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork on the social life of prayers in urban Shanghai. In 2015-16, she serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of ASIANetwork, a consortium of 160 North American colleges with Asia Studies programs. A Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 2015-16 and at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University and the Harvard Divinity School in 2016-17. Sun is now working on her new project on the return of religion in contemporary Chinese society and its consequences.