Dr Gareth Breen

Dr Gareth Breen

LSE Fellow

Department of Anthropology

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Office Hours
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English, French, Mandarin
Key Expertise
China and Taiwan

About me

Gareth's current research focuses upon followers and ex-followers of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee in the UK, the US and Europe. It explores how Nee's and Lee's ideas have been adapted and transformed through being combined with additional therapeutic, nutritional and spiritual ideas and practices. Having grown up a follower of Nee and Lee himself, this research aims to employ medical anthropology not only as a theoretical and descriptive lens but as a means of bringing followers, ex-followers and lives beyond the following together.
Gareth's research interests include: Christianity and other religiosities in China and Taiwan, Chinese medicine, anthropological methods, secularism, theology.
For his PhD he conducted research in Taiwan with members of the worldwide following of the Chinese Christian reformers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. His thesis describes how the psychological, somatic and sociological ideas of the following work in practice, both within Taiwan and across the Taiwan Strait. It also contextualises the group by tracing a history of practices and ideas of 'oneness' (Nee and Lee's central principle) in China and Taiwan.  
He received his PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2020. He has taught the following courses:

• Anthropology of Mind, Language and Ethics (UG)
• Anthropology of Sovereignty (UG)
• Anthropology and Political Economy (UG)
• Anthropology of Religion (UG/PG)
• Childhood Across Cultures (UG)
• Being Human (UG)
• Medical Anthropology (UG/PG)
• Anthropology for Medical Students (UG)
• Multisensory Experience: Understanding Sickness and Health Through the Senses (UG/PG)
• Anthropology of the Body (PG)- convenor

He currently teaches:

• China in Comparative Perspective (PG)

Expertise Details

Christianity and other Religiosities in China and Taiwan; Chinese Medicine; Anthropological Methods; Secularism; Theology.

Selected publications

Journal Articles

2022  “Always Something Missing: Giving without Intention among Sino-Taiwanese Protestants and Others”, Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, 40(1), pp. 51 – 67.

2021  “Oneness and ‘the church in Taiwan’: Anthropology Is Possible without Relations but Not without Things”, Social Analysis, 65(1), p. 44-69. [DOI:10.3167/sa.2021.65010].


2021 “Review as Method: A Review of Method as Method.” Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, 09 Mar. 2021, chajournal.blog/2021/03/09/review-as-method/.

2021  A Review of “Pandian, Anand. 2019. A Possible Anthropology: Methods for Uneasy Times. Duke University Press. 168 pp. Ppb.: $23.95. ISBN: 9781478003755.”, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, [DOI: 10.1111/1469-8676.12933].


2022  (with Wenqian Yuan and Jinzhi Xie) “Anti-racisms, Decolonisation and Chinese Student Experiences”, Anthropolitan, 17(1).

2020  “Failure is a feeling”, Allegra Lab, https:// allegralaboratory.net/failures-failure-is-a-feeling/

2020  “‘Maybe when all this is over Jesus will come back’: crisis, post-crisis and millenarian time”, UCL Medical Anthropology blog, https:// medanthucl.com/2020/05/25/maybe-when-all-this-is-over-jesus-will-come-back-crisis-post-crisis-and-millenarian-time/.

2018  “The Global ‘Body of Christ’ in Taiwan and Beyond”, LSE Religion and Global Society blog, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/ religionglobalsociety/2018/03/the-global-body-of-christ-in-taiwan-and-beyond/.