The West has been interacting with Buddhism for many centuries, but it is only in the past couple of decades that a truly sophisticated (postmodernist, postcolonialist) sense of global, and intercultural, hermeneutics has been applied to this history, in order to elucidate effects such as Western overationalization of Theravada, or romanticization of Tibet, or idealization of Zen, or dismissal of Pure Land. Having a deep critical awareness of the selected, constructed nature of perceptions of “Buddhism” is essential to having any understanding of what Buddhism has meant and can mean in the West. The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the existing and growing literature on this topic. Experience with previous Buddhist studies courses is assumed (seasoned students at the MA and PhD level). This is an online reading course, with weekly readings, written responses, and written interactions with instructor and other students (80%) and a final research paper (20%).

Our online courses are co-sponsored by the Starr King School for the Ministry

HRPH 8465 : Critical Historiography of Buddhism