Courses

Spring 2016: Buddhism in the Modern World

Fall 2016: Global Buddhism

Spring 2017: Imagining Shangri-La

Spring 2018: Tibetan Buddhism: Translations and transformations


billede

SPRING COURSE 2018, UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN

Tibetan Buddhism

Translations and transformations

The course “Tibetan Buddhism: Translations and transformations” enquires into Tibetan Buddhism as an interdisciplinary topic of investigation through bridging Buddhology, religious studies, Tibetology and anthropology. By taking an integrative approach to the study of Tibetan Buddhism, using the different sources that are available to us (texts, ethnographic insights, material objects, etc.), we investigate Tibetan Buddhism not only in temples, monasteries, and the homes of Buddhists, but also in non-Buddhist settings such as the market, cooperation and government.

The first part of the course introduces key concepts within Tibetan Buddhism as they are ideally understood in textual sources. We soon move beyond textuality to the second and main part of the course, where we discuss how Tibetan Buddhism is practiced and experienced among clergy, laity and the non-believers. This inquiry into the translations and transformations of Buddhism in everyday life will give us a very different picture of Tibetan Buddhism in the modern world, where it can be an ideal, philosophy, religion, identity, secularity, science, politics, lifestyle, product, technique and practice that is restricted and enabled by organization, politics, capitalism, faith and so forth. Topics that will be discussed in the classroom include:

  • theoretical foundations and key concepts
  • monasticism and everyday lay Buddhism
  • rituals and materiality
  • the Dalai Lama institution
  • mindfulness
  • science and secularity
  • the politics of reincarnation
  • Tibetan Buddhism and the Chinese State
  • globalized Tibetan Buddhism

The teacher and course responsible is Trine Brox, but we will also invite guest professors (whose writings are on the syllabus) to present their research. Through the topic of Tibetan Buddhism, this course also aims at helping students develop general competences. Hence we consciously seek to integrate in the classroom activities: (1) conducting analysis, (2) handling theory, and (3) reading critically. The course will be taught in English (or Danish if only Scandinavian students are signed up). It is open to all BA-students who are interested in Tibetan Buddhism – there are no requirements – and it can form the basis for an elective in Tibetology (15-page home assignment at the end of the term) or other education programmes relating to Religious Studies, China Studies and the like. If you are a master student, you should contact the teacher in order to arrange the exam according to the requirements of the “KA-studieordning.” Students who are required to include Chinese, Thai, Tibetan, Japanese, or other language texts for their exam paper, should select their texts in consultation with the teachers. Supplementary readings in Tibetan language can be provided by Trine Brox upon request.

  • Although prior knowledge of Buddhism is not required, some familiarity with the basics of Buddhism and Tibet is an advantage. Suggested books available in our library are:
  • Kapstein, Matthew T. 2014. Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (130 pages)
  • A detailed list of readings for each class can be found in Absalon/Canvas well ahead of semester start. Students attending this course will benefit from reading an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism before attending the class. In the first two classes, we will discuss the following book, which can be borrowed from the library:

Harvey, Peter 2013. An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. (521 pages)

Keown, Damien 2013. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, Oxford University Press. (158 pages)

Samuel, Geoffrey. 2012. Introducing Tibetan Buddhism. Abingdon: Routledge.

Language: English

Course code: HTIK00018U

Credit: 15 ECTS

Level: Bachelor, Bachelor choice, Full Degree Master, Full Degree Master choice

Course responsible: Trine Brox [trinebrox @ hum.ku.dk]

THE COURSE IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION NOVEMBER 2017.

See here for more information.


SPRING COURSE 2016

Buddhism in the Modern World

This course takes place at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark

15 ECTS

This is a course for all BA-students who are interested in contemporary Buddhism. If you are a master student, you should contact the teacher in order to arrange the exam according to the requirements of MA-studieordning.

Teachers:

  • Trine Brox, trinebrox @ hum.ku.dk
  • Jan Ulrich Sobisch, sobisch @ hum.ku.dk
  • Elizabeth Williams Ørberg, elizabeth.oerberg @ hum.ku.dk


Course description:

This course enquires into contemporary Buddhism as an interdisciplinary topic of investigation through bridging language-based area studies, religious studies, and anthropology. Building upon an introduction to some key concepts of Buddhism, we explore how ‘Buddhism’ is employed within various contexts in Asia and beyond, while paying attention to possible contradictions, contentions and contentment with contemporary issues.

Although prior knowledge of Buddhism is not required, some familiarity with the basics of Buddhism is an advantage. Students attending this course will benefit from reading introductions to Buddhism before attending the class. Suggested books available in our library are:

Harvey, Peter 2013. An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. (521 pages)

Kapstein, Matthew T. 2014. Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (130 pages)

Keown, Damien 2013. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, Oxford University Press. (158 pages)

 


FALL COURSE 2016

Global Buddhism

This course takes place at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark


15 ECTS

This is a course for BA and MA-students.

Teachers: 

  • Elizabeth Williams Ørberg, elizabeth.oerberg @ hum.ku.dk
  • Trine Brox, trinebrox @ hum.ku.dk
  • Marianne Viftrup Hedegaard, mariannehedegaard @ hum.ku.dk

Course description:

Buddhism in the contemporary, modern world has undergone swift and dramatic transformations in the past few decades, mostly due to the influence of globalization and modernization processes. The global spread of Buddhism- including the practices, understandings and of Buddhists themselves- has led to not only a growing interest in Buddhism worldwide, but also a transformation in the way that Buddhism is practiced and understood in these global contexts. We will look at regional distinctions in the development of Buddhism, as well as the global spread of common trends, such as the influence of modernization, globalization, secularization on understandings of Buddhism, as well as the impact of contemporary understandings of science, psychology, meditation, politics, capitalism, etc.

The course is offered as part of the research activities taking place at the Center for Contemporary Buddhist Studies (CCBS) at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies. During the semester, the CCBS is arranging a larger conference on ‘Buddhism, Business and Economic Relations’ at the University of Copenhagen which the students are expected to attend and actively participate.

For information about the conference, please check The BBB Conference.


SPRING COURSE 2017
Imagining Shangri-La

poster%20f2017.jpg

This course takes place at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

15 ECTS

This is a course for BA and MA students, however MA students will have a greater reading and work load.


Course description:

Since the 1930s when the British author James Hilton wrote the novel Lost Horizon depicting a mystical paradise in the Himalayas, the various utopic ideals represented by the term “Shangri-La” has gripped popular imaginations the world over. This course examines the appearance and usage of the concept of Shangri-La, both within a Tibetan Buddhist perspective but also as this concept has taken shape globally in a multitude of other contexts, including but not limited to popular culture and the marketing of tourism destinations. By taking a closer look at how this concept has taken root and spread, as well as the imaginaries that the term ‘Shangri-La’ invokes, we will analyze the growth and impact that social and cultural imaginaries have had in modern myth-making and utopic visions of past and present. In imagining Shangri-La, the inherent ideas and perspectives relating to this imagined place and the people who possibly inhabit this place are by no means benign. These utopic imaginations have also worked to encapture the people and places of the Himalayas in fantasies and myths sustained by Western ideations of self and other. We will examine the workings of Shangri-La by beginning the course with a short history of the origin of the term Shangri-La and how it became invoked and widespread in Western imaginations in the mid-20th century, providing a background for wider discussions throughout the course. From there we move on to discuss the role of the ‘imagination’ and how social and cultural imaginaries are formed and spread, drawing on philosophical, anthropological and cultural studies literature, for example bringing in theories of modernity, orientalism and myth-making. We will then discuss various forms and cases through which the myth of ‘Shangri-La’ has taken shape and manifested in specific contexts. Students will gain not only a thorough background knowledge about the ideas surrounding ‘Shangri-La’ and the Himalayan and Tibetan Buddhist context through which this concept originally springs, but also the analytical and theoretical skills to analyze the birth, growth and transformation of concepts invoking utopic visions, modern myths and social imaginaries.

The course is offered in English, and students at both the Bachelor and Master’s level are welcome to take the course with Master’s students having a greater reading and work load.  This course is relevant, but not limited to, students following a course of study related to Tibetan, Chinese, South Asian studies, Asian Studies as well as religious studies, cross-cultural studies, minority studies, etc.
Advertisements