ASIAN 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Section: 001 Buddhist Saints, Spirits, and Shrines
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Other:
WorldLit
Waitlist Capacity:
99
Repeatability:
May be elected twice 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 goals shape the Buddhist practice of meditation, devotion, divination, renunciation and pilgrimage? What sorts of ritual objects do Southeast Asian Buddhists create, collect and use in the pursuit of their diverse religious goals? How useful is it to regard these beliefs and practices as magical or superstitious? 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 20% - Formal essays 40%.

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 280 - Topics in Asian Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
24569
Open
2
 
-
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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