HISTORY 208 - Topics in History
Section: 003 How to Make the Wheel Turn: Buddhism and Power
Term: WN 2008
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The Buddha is said to have been able to stop mad elephants from running him over, have entire armies out to kill him be washed away by floods, or teleport himself across rivers and into heavens and hells. Indian Buddhist saints, Nepalese tantric priests and Burmese wizards supposedly had and still have the power to fly through the air, go through walls, or read minds. A mantra recited or written on a scrap of paper, icons and amulets representing the Buddha, or, most of all, the Buddha’s conserved tooth have the power to protect you from danger and vanquish your enemies. Kings, generals, politicians and businessmen in South and Southeast Asia have sought to own these powerful objects and to be endorsed by powerful monks to run countries, wipe out competition or wage devastating wars. In the same way rebels, social reformers and pro-democracy activists have successfully stood up to repression and changed the balance of power by themselves plugging into the power the Buddha, his doctrine and his people have to offer. The ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka is both favored and opposed by monks. And the Thai king, who was once a monk, is the one to decide when the military or the civilians should run the country. If Buddhism, as it is often believed is all about peace, meditation, retreating and nirvana, how Buddhist is it to have all these kinds of powers, or how Buddhist is it to have power at all? Or could it be that the path to power is to refuse to have any? What power can the knowledge about Buddhism confer not only on Buddhist monks and rulers, but on Western scholars and students? This is a course in which you will learn about Buddhism from a different perspective by studying how power works.

HISTORY 208 - Topics in History
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
Note: Students must be able to attend three out of four required field assignments to be held on designated Fridays during the semester.
002 (LEC)
6LSA Hnrs
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Note: Meets with AAPTIS 291.001
003 (LEC)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: Meets with ASIAN 253.003
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

No Syllabi are on file for HISTORY 208. Click the button below to search for a different syllabus (UM login required)

Search for Syllabus
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)