one of the risks of writing what turns out to be a well-regarded book is invitations to talk on a subject that may have exhausted its interest for the writer. sometimes i feel that way about requests to talk about taiwanese popular religious practices, particularly in relationship to cross-straits issues. nonetheless, i’m glad that my friends push me to “keep one’s old knowledge warm as one learns new things,” as confucius instructs teachers (溫故而知新)

it’s in that spirit, that i gave a talk at columbia university last week. little did i know then that the talk would compel me to look at a fascinating new religious site in lukang, taiwan hoseng kiong (台灣護聖宮), a temple constructed almost entirely of glass. as i argue, the temple’s remediation of taiwanese ritual not only celebrates its artificiality and connection with other media; remediation is equally a scale-making project, which situates belief in the goddess mazu within environmentalist and multicultural discourses now dominant on the island. the temple also foregrounds its taiwaneseness, choosing iconography that represents the island country and advertising the ingenuity of taiwanese glass artisans. finally, the glass image at hoseng kiong obviates pilgrimage to china. these features, while more evident at lukang’s glass temple, can be observed in other contemporary ritual practices on taiwan. together, they suggest the role of religious practice in the imagination of a post-chinese popular culture

i’ll post a copy of the text of the talk on soon