Dr Caroline Fielder

Dr Caroline Fielder

Lecturer in Chinese Studies

0113 343 4403

Summary: Religion in contemporary China, especially faith based organisations; civil society; charity and philanthropy; volunteering; citizenship education

Location: 14 Cromer Terrace

About Dr Caroline Fielder

I gained my PhD from the University of Leeds, having been awarded a White Rose East Asia Centre (WREAC) scholarship. My thesis explored the (re)emergence of faith based social service organisations and religiously inspired charities in contemporary China and the role that such organisations currently play in shaping civil society in China. My research drew on forty three such organisations from across the five officially recognised religious traditions in China (namely Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam and Protestantism).
Prior to coming to Leeds I worked in a variety of roles in both business and the Third Sector, including three years working for a Chinese non-profit organisation on education programmes in northern Jiangxi province, and eight years working as Director of China Desk for CTBI, the national ecumenical council of Britain and Ireland. I have an MPhil in Theology and Religion from University of Birmingham, and did my undergraduate studies in Modern Chinese and Management Studies at the University of Durham.

Ongoing Research

In addition to on-going work exploring the interface between religion and the development of contemporary Chinese society - in particular through the development of religiously inspired social service organisations - I am also currently working on a research project which explores the rapid development of the wider non-profit sector (both religious and secular) in China. This research project seeks to better understand the wider context of philanthropy and charity, concepts which have only recently been rehabilitated within Chinese society. It does so through an  exploration of a range of issues such as changes to the regulatory framework; new initiatives in citizenship education; the development of new forms of ‘charitable organisations’; and the motivations of different groups of donors within society to give financial or other forms of support. I am particularly interested in exploring how the current discourse of charity is being shaped in China, and who is helping to shape it. This includes better understanding the ways in which the notion of charity is being politically mediated, particularly as a tool in soft power diplomacy; what moral resources, traditions, customs and rules are being drawn upon; and how the various concepts of charity currently in use are being produced, and in what different contexts they are being used.


I teach on the following modules:


  • EAST3561 Religion in China
  • EAST1550 Introduction to East Asian Religions
  • EAST1500 Introduction to East Asian Religious and Philosophical Texts
  • EAST2082/EAST2083 China since 1979
  • EAST3020 Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China


  • EAST5013M Chinese Politics
  • EAST5270 Dissertation (Placement)
  • MODL5312M Specialised Chinese-English Translation (Administrative and General)

Office Hours
Thursday 2-4pm