Religion Program Events

Monday, April 2, 2018

Buddhism and Symbolic Violence

The recent tragedy of the Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar has arguably attracted more attention from the media than the long civil war between Buddhists and Hindus in Sri Lanka, and it has led many people to question the traditional image of Buddhist non-violence. Usually Buddhist violence has been discussed from a socio-political or doctrinal viewpoint. Here I would like to address its presence in visual representations and in the Buddhist imagination. If compassion is well expressed by serene images of meditating buddhas, the angry gods of Tantric Buddhism partake, conversely, in a puzzling symbolic violence. I would like to examine the role of such representations in the historical development of Buddhism. 

Cosponsored by The Religion Program and Asian Studies
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: Olin, Room 204
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Monday, April 16, 2018

An Undefined Line Between Celebration and Mourning in Post-Revolutionary Iran

Using some key concepts in Bruce Lincoln's Holy Terrors: Thinking About Religion After September 11 (Chicago, 2003), this talk will examine commemorations of violent events in modern Iranian and sacred Shi’a history (such as the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Iran-Iraq War, and martyrdom of the family of the Prophet Muhammad). It reviews both Iranian and American reporting of holidays marked in the Islamic Republic of Iran to ask how the presentation of commemorations (especially in calendars, media, rituals) uses careful rhetoric and historical contextualization to walk the fine line between celebration and mourning or blur the line between nationalism and religious practice.
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Olin, Room 204
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Past Events