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REL 329: Buddhism & Politics

Course Description

REL 329: Buddhism & Politics, T/Th 11am - 12:20pm

Prof. Jonathan Gold, Department of Religion

This course addresses Buddhist approaches to social and political thought, traditional and modern. We will ask how Buddhist thinkers and political actors have imagined, shaped, and critiqued their societies, and how Buddhists have challenged, and been challenged by, modern and contemporary political conversations. What is the role of a Buddhist ruler? Is the monastic community best understood as a model society, a social force, or an escape from politics? When is Buddhism a motivation for war, and when for denouncing violence? When have Buddhist traditions supported social divisions, and when have they sought to transcend them?