REL190-1: Fresh Sem: Religion

Topic: Buddhist Women Through theAges

August 23, 2017 - December 5, 2017
DaysTimeLocationInstructorGERCreditOPUS #
TuThF
12:00pm - 12:50pm
Bowden Hall 116
McClintock, Sara
FSEM32194
Appropriate for First Year students.

Dynamics of inquiry on a focused research topic. Will include discussion, debate, oral and written presentations. Topic varies.

Special Evidence-Focused Seminar. For more information: http://evidence.emory.edu/in-the-news/evidence-focused-courses.html

The Buddhist religion began in India approximately 2,500 years ago, and has since spread throughout Asia and the world. Throughout all this time, women have been crucial members of the Buddhist community, even if their contributions have not always been foregrounded or recognized. During the Buddha’s lifetime, certain nuns attained renown as enlightened masters and skillful teachers, on a par with male monastics and even with the Buddha himself. Other nuns were less famous, but still leave fascinating poems invoking their joy at leaving their wifely duties and embracing the spiritual life. Laywomen also became prominent disciples, including courtesans, queens, and ordinary women and girls. Many stories about women come down to us, and these stories provide the initial context for our encounter with lives of Buddhist women from a variety of times and places across Asia and into modern-day America.

 This is an evidence-focused first-year seminar. As such, our primarily goals include 1) how to distinguish various uses of evidence in the humanities, particularly in the study of women and in the study of Buddhism; 2) how to access, identify, gather, and analyze evidence using a wide range of sources and with special focus on the Emory library collections and the Carlos Museum; 3) how to evaluate evidence for its credibility and usefulness in relation to our particular research questions; and 4) how to build arguments on the basis of primary evidence, as well how to assess the arguments of others. The class will include regular evidence-focused discussions in which we consider such questions of evidence in relation to the course materials, which include a textbook, primary ancient texts in translation, an ethnographic report, scholarly articles and book chapters, poems, paintings, essays, documentary films, and guest speakers. Comparing ancient texts with contemporary narratives, visual materials with poems, scholarly articles with blog posts, students will learn how to discern and gather appropriate sources to construct arguments around a research question and to then present those arguments in written and oral forms. We will spend time discussing methods for reading and note-taking, library resources and databases, approaches to writing and rewriting, seminar participation, and oral presentation skills. The materials we will engage will be both delightful and challenging, and will open our eyes to new ways of engaging with history, literature, religion, and gender.

  1. Ranjini Obeyesekere,
  2. Sid Brown,
  3. Rupert Gethin,
  4. Charles Hallisey,
  5. Kurtis Schaefer,
Assignment/ExamDetails% of Total Grade
requirements/assignmentsIn addition to regular attendance and seminar participation, the main requirements for this seminar are as follows: regular blog posts on the private course blog; a midterm exam early in the semester to establish baseline knowledge; a scaffolded research paper project culminating in a final evidence-focused research paper (8�??10 pages); and an end-of-term creative assignment that plays with the themes of evidence, gender, and Buddhism.

The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.