Subject: History
Credit units: 3
Offered: Either Term 1 or Term 2
Weekly hours: 1.5 Lecture hours and 1.5 Seminar/Discussion hours
College: Arts and Science
Department: History


This hybrid lecture-seminar class provides students with an historical examination of the peoples, practices, doctrines, and institutions of the Buddhist religion through history, emphasizing socio-cultural dimensions. Topics include: early Buddhism and its evolution in India; cultural contacts and the spread of Buddhism to southeast Asia, central Asia, China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia. We will also consider Buddhism in modern Asia and in the west. Class meetings will combine lectures that provide historical and cultural context with discussions—and films—to clarify and interpret the assigned readings. Readings center on primary materials in English translation rather than on secondary scholarship so that students will define Buddhism on their own terms. Several questions guide this class: How has the world been imagined and experienced by Buddhists over time and over different geographies and cultures? What aspects of Buddhism are Westerners eager to see and what are they not interested in?

Prerequisite(s): 3 credit units HIST at the 200 level; or 60 credit units of University level courses; or permission of the instructor.

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