Francesca Tarocco

Francesca Tarocco
Visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures
Office Phone
+86 (21) 20595103

Francesca Tarocco is Visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures at NYU Shanghai. Prior to joining NYU Shanghai she was Lecturer in Buddhist Studies and Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow in Chinese History at the University of Manchester, UK. 

Tarocco’s research interests are in the cultural history of China, Chinese Buddhism, visual culture and urban Asia. Her books include The Cultural Practices of Modern Chinese Buddhism: Attuning the Dharma (Routledge, 2007 and 2011) and The Re-enchantment of Modernity: Buddhism, Photography and Chinese History (2018). Her scholarly articles include “The City and the Pagoda: Buddhist Spatial Tactics in Shanghai” (2015), “Terminology and Religious Identity: The Genealogy of the Term Zongjiao,” (2012) and “On the Market: Consumption and Material Culture in Modern Chinese Buddhism” (Religion, 2011). 

Tarocco is the co-founder and director of the international research initiative Shanghai Studies Society and a fellow of the Critical Collaborations network at the Institute for Advanced Study (NYU). She is the recipient of awards from the Leverhulme Trust, the Sutasoma Foundation and the Chinese Ministry of Education, among many others. Tarocco is a regular contributor of the contemporary visual culture journals Parkett, Flash Art International and Frieze.



  • PhD, Chinese History
    University of London
  • MA, Chinese Studies
    University of London
  • MA, Chinese and Buddhist Studies
    Venice University

Research Interests

  • History of Religion in China
  • Shanghai Buddhism
  • Buddhist Visual Culture
  • Chinese Photography
  • Chinese Diasporic Art and Global Visual Culture 

Courses Taught

  • Contemporary Art & New Media
  • Religion and Society in China: Ghosts, Gods, Buddhas and Ancestors
  • Religious Studies
  • Seminar: Ghosts, Gods, Buddhas
  • The Cultivated City
  • Topics in Digital Humanities