14th International Conference on Daoist Studies (In Honor of Aleksandar Fedotov) “Daoism and Literature: Myths, Stories, Novels, Poetry”

Sofia, Bulgaria
9-12th Jun 2020
Deadline: 1st Apr 2020

Daoism in all its schools and dimensions has found vivid expression in literature—from the poetic format of the Daode jing through the fictional accounts in the Zhuangzi and the ecstatic poetry and mythology of the middle ages to extensive novels and alchemical poetry of late imperial China, continuing actively today. Both the doctrinal and experiential expression of Daoism in various literary genres and the adaptation of Daoist imagery and vision by literary masters deserve a great deal further study than undertaken to date. This conference aims to remedy this lack and invites scholars and practitioners from all over the world to share their expertise and engage in new and exciting exploration.


Chairs: Desislava Damyanova, Sofia University; Livia Kohn, Boston University

Sponsors: Sofia University, Daesoon Academy of Sciences, Three Pines Press

Standing Committee:

USA: Liu Xun, Robin Wang; China: Chen Xia, Sharon Small, Liou Tong-Miin; France: Adeline Herrou, Georges Favraud, Karine Martin; Germany: Friederike Assandri, Elisabeth Friedrichs


Lennert Gesterkamp, Utrecht University
“The Shanhai jing and the Roots of Daoist Sacred Geography”
Zornica Kirkova, Staatsbibliothek Berlin
“Daoism and Poetry in Early Medieval China”
Brigitte Baptandier, CNRS Paris
“The Lady of Linshui in Ming Novels”


After arrival in Sofia on Monday, June 8, the conference begins with registration at 8 am on Tuesday, June 9, followed at 9 am by a brief opening ceremony and keynote speeches. It ends in the evening of Friday, June 12, followed by an optional banquet. There are fourteen 1.5 hour sessions plus a guided city walk on Wednesday afternoon. Languages are English and Chinese.

–Panels: Three 20-minute individual paper presentations on the panel theme, followed by open discussion (1.5 hours). In all cases, an effort will be made to join Chinese and Western representatives. PPTs should be bilingual.
–Workshops: Emphasis on the experience of Daoist cultivation, martial arts (taiji quan), and forms of Daoist medicine (1.5 hours). The room will not have tables, chairs, or PPT equipment. It is specifically for practical experience.
–Forums: Joint readings of particular texts distributed ahead of time in 1.5-hour sessions.


Sunday (either before or after the conference, June 7 or 14)—join the majestic service at the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, followed by lunch and an afternoon hike in the Vitosha mountains (US $10).
Monday (before the conference, June 8)—take a 2-hour bus ride to Plovdiv where an associate will meet you to explore that beautiful historical city (US $25).
Saturday (after the conference, June 13)—take an organized bus tour to the Rila Monastery and its beautiful mountains, also about 2 hours from Sofia (US $30).


General: send information (name, email, institution) to <daoconf@gmail.com>
In China: send information (name, email, institution) to WeChat, ID: ssysmall12


Paper/workshop/artistic proposals: send abstract in no more than 200 English words or 300 Chinese characters to <daoconf@gmail.com>

FEE: $65 / €60, payable via PayPal to <daoconf@gmail.com>
RMB 450, contact Sharon Small for sending it inside China (WeChat, ID: ssysmall12)



Abstracts due: April 1, 2020
Program on website: April 20, 2020



A limited number of work-study scholarships are available to scholars within 3 years of completing the Ph.D. (before or after). They cover approximately half of housing and airfare in addition to a waiver of conference fees and require attendance of the entire conference as well as a few hours of work to help with registration and other organizational tasks.

Send your application to <daoconf@gmail.com>. Include name, institution, academic supervisor, title of dissertation, date of completion, as well as paper title and abstract, preferably on a topic related to time. Funds run out, so apply early. The final, last, and ultimate deadline is March 1, 2020.



There will be a limited number of tables available to distribute fliers or pamphlets and sell books, CDs, and other materials. This service is complementary.
Contact <daoconf@gmail.com>.


Sofia University is the major higher academic institution of Bulgaria. Its campus is right in the center of the capital city, near many important cultural properties and restaurants. For more details, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sofia_University; https://www.uni-sofia.bg/eng.
A virtual tour around the Rectorate: https://www.uni-sofia.bg/multimedia/start_en.html.


There are numerous hotels near the conference venue at Sofia University, St. Kliment Ochridsky Blvd.
We recommend the Rila Hotel Sofia—it is spacious and quiet, and about 15 minutes walk to the University. Other than that, Booking.com has numerous options for a good price. And there is always AirBnB, where you can rent single rooms or entire apartments.


From the airport best take the subway
Line 1, to Sofia Universtiy-St. Kliment Ochridsky. A painted trail on the floor takes you directly to the station. For a system map: see http://mapa-metro.com/en/ Bulgary/Sofia/Sofia-Metro-map.htm
For taxis, go to official desk for licensed cabs. Do NOT take free-lance taxis.

Download this announcement as PDF: Sofia2020