ASIAN 338 - Humanities Topics in South Asian Studies
Fall 2023, Section 002 - The Dalai Lamas
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
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Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
At least one previous course on South Asia. Students are not permitted to elect the same topic twice.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Today, the Dalai Lama (not Dalai Lhama or Dali Lama) is one of the most recognized faces in the world. In 2020, he featured among the top 10 most admired people in the United States. In 2018, he was voted among the top 5 most recognized faces on Earth. People all over the globe who have no idea where the Capital of Tibet is, the names of the most sacred Buddhist temples of the Himalayas, the name of the Mongolian king who named the Dalai Lama, or the 13 previous Dalai Lamas, all recognize the Dalai Lama. The face of the Dalai Lama that is found on memes, stickers, and inspirational quotes today is the face of the fourteenth Dalai Lama to bear the title. Who, what, and when are the Dalai Lamas Enlightened human? Simple monk? A teacher? A god? A King? A politician? A tragedy? An imposter? A diplomat? A poet? A lover? A tantric yogi? A Nobel Laureate? This course explores the lives and works of the lineage of Dalai Lamas by going on a journey through myth and history, religion and politics, as well as legends and biographies to meet the fourteen Dalai Lamas who have walked the earth to date. The core readings for the course will consist of Tibetan life stories, historical writings, poetry, and artwork created by the various Dalai Lamas and their disciple. The course will also explore other materials from the Tibetan Buddhist world that relate to the myths shrouding the figure of the Dalai Lama. The readings will consist of primary sources in translation as well as relevant secondary scholarly works, comic books, films, and media resources. At the end of this course, students will be able to decide who and what the Dalai Lama was or is for themselves.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly


ASIAN 338 - Humanities Topics in South Asian Studies
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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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.

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