Marie-Paule Hille


Assistant Professor, EHESS/CCJ


Marie-Paule Hille is Associate Professor at EHESS, Paris. During her PhD Thesis, she coordinated the sub-project ‘Gansu Muslim Merchant World’ in the Interdisciplinary programme ‘Professional Cultures and the Transmission of Specialized Knowledge: Artisans and Merchants in Local Society’ coordinated by Christian Lamouroux (Chiang-Ching Kuo Foundation, 2006–09). This survey has depended on a long-term cooperation between French and Chinese specialists, including academic researchers from Lanzhou University (Gansu) and also local scholars or professionals. This project responded to two hypothesis: both rural and urban forms of Chinese local society are reliant on corporate groups — lineages, guilds of craftsmen and merchants, networks of various specialists — and hence on the emergence, maintenance and transmission of what the project’s participants have called ’professional culture’. The typical ’professional culture’ studied here, namely long-distance trade, can be viewed as a local system of specialised knowledge, shared by different social and religious groups (Hille 2011). Second, long-distance trade was based on complex political loyalties, social skills and particular integration in each territory in a context of religious pluralism (Hille 2015).

Since 2016, Hille has been giving two research seminars directly related to the RedGold project issues. By studying a diversity of hagiographic processes, the seminar ‘Cult of Saints in China (Islam and Taoism): Historical and Anthropological Approaches’ offers a comparative perspective to highlight the variability of the notion of sainthood across time and in different local cultures (Hille, 2016 & 2017). It deals also with the transformations of the sacred places in today’s trend of patrimonialisation and sanctuarisation (Hille 2020) and the evolution of ritual practices (Hille 2018). The second seminar, ‘Experiences of Early Communism in China (1950s-60s): Historical and Anthropological Investigations’, proposes a reflection on the role of Muslim religious elites during the Agrarian Reform (1951–52) and the impact of socioeconomic and language transformations on religious lineages. These two seminars will support the RedGold project, in particular thanks to the ‘Visiting Professors’ programme offered by EHESS.

Publications related to the project’s theme

Marie-Paule Hille, ‘Les Jeux de l’Ombre et de la Lumière: Ce que Nous Disent des Tombeaux de Saints Musulmans sur une Forme Contemporaine de Sainteté (Chine, Gansu, 1968–2018)’, Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée 146 (2020): 73–96

Marie-Paule Hille, ‘Faire Communauté: Dimensions Religieuses et Politiques d’un Rite Alimentaire sur Trois Générations’, in S. Baciocchi, A. Cottereau, M.-P. Hille, eds., Le Pouvoir des Gouvernés: Ethnographies de Savoir-Faire Politiques sur Quatre Continents, Brussels: PIE & Peter Lang, 2018: 145–80

Marie-Paule Hille, ‘Les Han Kitab et le Xidaotang: Réception et Usage d’une Littérature Musulmane en Chinois à la Fin du XIXe siècle à Taozhou (Gansu)’, Études Orientales 27–28 (2016): 327–74

Marie-Paule Hille, ‘Le Maître Spirituel au sein du Xidaotang: Enquête sur la Reconnaissance d’une Autorité Sainte en Islam Soufi Chinois (Gansu)’, Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions 173 (2016): 179-99

Marie-Paule Hille, ‘Rethinking Muslim-Tibetan Trade Relations in Amdo: A Case Study of the Xidaotang Merchants’, in M.-P. Hille, B. Horlemann, P. Nietupski, eds., Muslims in Amdo Tibetan Society: Multidisciplinary Approaches, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015: 179–206

Marie-Paule Hille, Le Xidaotang, une Existence Collective à l’Épreuve du politique: Ethnographie Historique et Anthropologique d’une Communauté Musulmane Chinoise (Gansu, 1857–2014), PhD dissertation, Paris: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2014, 2 vols.

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