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Fall 2016


Buddhist Studies C 120 Buddhism on the Silk Road
  • TuTh 2:00-3:30
  • S. Mehendale
  • 229 Dwinelle
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 13623
Cross-listed with East Asian Languages and Cultures C120

This course will discuss the social, economic, and cultural aspects of Buddhism as it moved along the ancient Eurasian trading network referred to as the "Silk Road." Instead of relying on the textual tradition, the course will focus on material culture as it offers evidence concerning the spread of Buddhism. Through an examination of the Buddhist art and archaeological remains of the Silk Road, the course will address specific topics, such as the relationship between Buddhism and commerce; doctrinal divergence; ideological  shifts in the iconography of the Buddha; patronage (royal, religious, and lay); ritual; Buddhism and political power; and art and conversion. The course is also designed as an historical introduction to the Silk Road, understood as an ever-changing series of peoples, places, and traditions, as well as an introduction to the study of those same peopels, places, and traditions in the modern period. IN this way, the class is intended both as a guide to extant textual, archaeological, and art historical evidence from the Silk Road, and as a framework fort hinking about the modern Silk Road regions from teh perspective of a contemporary American classroom.