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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

WGSS 44.07 The Struggle for Liberation: Women, Monasticism, and Buddhism

This course will examine the relationship between women, monasticism, and Buddhism through an interdisciplinary and transnational perspective. We will begin in ancient India by examining the founding of the Order of Nuns; the monastic lives, spiritual poetry, and struggles of early Buddhist nuns; and the decline and death of the nuns’ order in India. Then we’ll move on to explore a wide range of topics from throughout the Buddhist world—such as the economic and political power of the nuns’ order in parts of East Asia; the death of the nuns’ order and the phenomenon of low-status “unofficial” nuns throughout much of Southeast Asia; the power of yoginis and other non-monastic spiritual roles for women in Tibet; the increasing phenomenon of Western nuns; and the feminist possibilities (or impossibilities) inherent in Buddhist doctrine. The term will conclude with a sustained look at the contemporary global movement to re-establish the valid ordination lineage for nuns throughout the world—a movement in which the voices arguing “for” and “against” are not always what one might presume them to be.

Cross Listed Courses

REL 41.03

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:INT; WCult:NW

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.