ASIAN 250 - Undergraduate Seminar in Buddhist Studies
Section: 001 Buddhist Saints, Spirits and Shrines
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Requirements & Distribution:
FYSem, WorldLit
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
No knowledge of an Asian language required.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

'Buddhism' typically evokes thoughts of monks, meditation and monasteries in the minds of Americans. Everyday religious life in Buddhist Southeast Asia, however, is also filled with astrologers, spirit mediums, amulets, shrines, deities, and ghosts. This course introduces students to the wide diversity of Buddhist actors, voices, activities, objects and places in contemporary Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

We will explore the social, ritual and material cultures of popular Buddhism that characterize mundane religious life in these countries. How, when and why do individuals seek out monks, nuns, astrologers, spirit mediums, exorcists, and esoteric masters? What norms and goals shape the Buddhist practice of meditation, devotion, divination, renunciation and pilgrimage? What types of sacred places do devout Buddhists seek out as they struggle with the demands of daily life? What sorts of ritual objects do Southeast Asian Buddhists create, collect and use in the pursuit of their diverse religious goals? By the end of the course students will understand how abstract Buddhist teachings, beliefs and doctrines take on concrete meaning and significance in the everyday life of Southeast Asian cultures and communities.

Course Requirements:

Attendance and participation 20% - Postings/Reading Responses 20% - Informal writing assignments 30% - Formal essays 30%.

Intended Audience:

Any student with an interest in Religion, Asian Studies and Buddhist Studies. No knowledge of Buddhism or Southeast Asian language, history or culture is necessary.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly

ASIAN 250 - Undergraduate Seminar in Buddhist Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
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