Spring 2008

Asian Studies Colloquium: Buddhist Literary Cultures

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-31  |  Religion, as RELI-71


Maria R. Heim (Section 01)
Paola Zamperini (Section 01)


(Also Asian 31.) This course studies Buddhist literature and literary aesthetics from South Asia, China, Tibet, Japan. We will consider several genres including biographies of the Buddha, hagiographies, sutras, epics, folk tales, poetry, short stories, plays, and novels. We will explore how literature may be uniquely empowered to generate and reflect certain sensibilities and to make certain truths known. We will also be focusing on what the texts mean for the people who write, hear, read, and preserve them and how these meanings occur over time. By examining how literary ideals inflect religious, ethical, and political values (and vice versa), we will be attentive to how literary communities and institutions work. Students in the course will experiment with writing and appreciating poetry by participating in a "Haiku Slam." Second semester. Professors Heim and Zamperini.