Professor of Religion, Tim Knepper, led this project in coordination with colleagues at the Minzu University of China to support student research and documentation of the diverse religious communities in Beijing. This project is a companion project to a publication Dr. Knepper and students published through Drake called Spectrum of Faith, documenting the religious communities of Des Moines, Iowa.
In October 2020, a book titled Religions of Beijing was published by Bloomsbury Press, under the oversight of The Comparison Project and Professor Knepper. An excerpt from the Bloomsbury Press on the book reads as follows:
“Religions of Beijing offers an intimate portrayal of lived religion in 17 different religious communities in greater Beijing. Students at Minzu University of China spent one year immersed in the routine and practices daily, “writing with” the experiences and perspectives of their practitioners. Each chapter has been translated into English, with students at Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa) facilitating this process. The result is a bi-lingual book (Mandarin, English) that reveals to Chinese- and English-speaking readers the vibrant diversity of lived religion in contemporary Beijing.
Each chapter focuses on the histories, practices, spaces, and members of its community, telling the overall story of the renewed flourishing of religion in Beijing. The book is also enriched with over 100 photos that portray this flourishing renewal, capturing the lived experience of ordinary practitioners. Together, the words and photographs of Religions of Beijing draw the reader into the stories and lives of these communities and their members, providing a first-hand look at the contemporary practice of religion in greater Beijing. The religions covered are Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam and folk religion."
Drake faculty and students explored ways of combining Western medicine with Ayurvedic practices in treating non-communicable diseases such as chronic pain.
Dr. Pramod Mahajan, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, has led the way in developing this collaboration with Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). In 2019, the project was featured on the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology website.