image of Lagunita Lake in the winter

Lagunita in early March, Stanford. Photo credit: Linda A. Cicero

 

Winter

Tuesday
9:45 AM - 12:45 PM
This course will analyze both the reception in America of Asian religions (i.e. of Buddhism in the 19th century), and the development in America of Asian American religious traditions.
Monday Wednesday
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
This course will explore archaeological evidence for the ritual and religions of Ancient Eurasia, including Greco-Roman polytheism, early Christianity, and early Buddhism. Each week, we will discuss the most significant themes, methods, and approaches that archaeologists are now using to study religious beliefs and rituals. Examples will focus on the everyday social, material, and symbolic aspects of religion. The course will also consider the role of archaeological heritage in religious conflicts today and the ethical dilemmas of archaeology in the 21st century.
Monday Wednesday
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
An exploration of the visual arts of East and South Asia from ancient to modern times, in their social, religious, literary and political contexts. Analysis of major monuments of painting, sculpture and architecture will be organized around themes that include ritual and funerary arts, Buddhist art and architecture across Asia, landscape and narrative painting, culture and authority in court arts, and urban arts in the early modern world.
This course will analyze both the reception in America of Asian religions (i.e. of Buddhism in the 19th century), and the development in America of Asian American religious traditions.
Monday Wednesday
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Is it okay to feel pleasure? Should humans choose beauty or renunciation? This is the main controversy of medieval Japan. This course introduces students to the famous literary works that created a world of taste, subtlety, and sensuality. We also read essays that warn against the risks of leading a life of gratification, both in this life and in the afterlife. And we discover together the ways in which these two positions can be not that far from each other. Does love always lead to heartbreak? Is the appreciation of nature compatible with the truths of Buddhism? Is it good to have a family? What kind of house should we build for ourselves? Can fictional stories make us better persons? Each week, during the first class meeting, we will focus on these issues in Japan. During the second class meeting, we will participate in a collaborative conversation with the other students and faculty in Humanities Core classes, about other regions and issues. This course is taught in English. This course is part of the Humanities Core, a collaborative set of global humanities seminars that brings all of its students and faculty into conversation. On Mondays you meet in your own course, and on Wednesdays all the HumCore seminars (in session that quarter) meet together: https://humanitiescore.stanford.edu/.
Impact of Buddhism on the arts and culture of Japan as seen in the ancient capital of Kyoto. Image production, iconography, representational strategies, as well as the ritual and visual functions of Buddhist sculpture and painting with a focus on selected historical temples and their icons. Also examination of architectural and landscape elements of temple layouts, within which iconographic programs are framed, images are enlivened, and practices centered on these devotional and ritual art.
Monday Thursday
1:30 PM - 2:50 PM
What does one need to know about Islam to do business effectively in an Arab country? How can understanding the Protestant ethic help Mexican managers deal with U.S. partners? How does Confucianism influence Chinese business ethics? What are the business advantages of knowing how different countries rate on the spectrum of individualist versus communitarian values? These are the kinds of issues discussed in this course, which seeks to help students who will be engaged in international business during their careers. It aims to examine the deeper levels of attitudes and beliefs, often unconscious, which lie beneath the way business is done in various countries. Information will be provided on major religious and philosophical traditions like Confucianism, Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Some cross-cultural frameworks will also be considered. Case studies and background readings are set in nations like China, Japan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Mexico and the United States. The class will be discussion-based, drawing on students' own life experiences as well as the cases and readings. The hope is to provide a competitive advantage, both theoretically and practically, to students through understanding certain unspoken rules of the game in global business.
Monday Wednesday Friday
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
Temples, prayer beads, icons, robes, books, relics, candles and incense, scarves and hats, sacred food and holy water; objects of all sorts play a prominent role in all religions, evoking a wide range of emotional responses, from reverence, solace and even ecstasy, to fear, hostility and violence. What is it about these things that makes them so powerful? Is it beliefs and doctrines that inspire particular attitudes towards certain objects, or is it the other way around? Many see a tension or even contradiction between religion and material pursuits and argue that the true religious life is a life without things. But is such a life even possible? This course adopts a comparative approach, drawing on a variety of traditions to examine the place of images, food, clothing, ritual objects, architecture and relics in religious thought and practice. Materials for the course include scholarship, scripture, images and at least one museum visit.
Tuesday Thursday
3:15 PM - 4:45 PM
Religious themes and topoi are ubiquitous in Japanese anime and manga. In this course, we will examine how religions are represented in these new media and study the role of religions in contemporary Japan. By doing this, students will also learn fundamental concepts of Buddhism and Shinto.
Tuesday Thursday
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
An overview of major themes and historical developments in 5000 years of Chinese religion. In this course, we will try as much as possible to appreciate Chinese religion from the Chinese perspective, paying particular attention to original texts in translation, artifacts and videos, all in an attempt to discern the logic of Chinese religion and the role it has played in the course of Chinese history. To a greater extent perhaps than any other civilization, Chinese have left behind a continuous body of written documents and other artifacts relating to religion stretching over thousands of years, providing a wealth of material for studying the place of religion in history and society.

RELIGST 153: Buddhist Tantra

Monday Wednesday
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
This course provides an introduction to Buddhist Tantra through considering select themes in its historical development, philosophy, contemplative and ritual dynamics, visual and material culture, and variations across different times and cultures, from medieval India to the globalized present. Students will learn how to interpret tantric Buddhist literature in translation, assess modern scholarly studies, appreciate diverse contemplative and ritual techniques, analyze examples of tantric Buddhist artwork, and develop final projects based on their interests. Course readings are in English. No prerequisite is required.
Monday
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This seminar explores the role of women in Japanese Buddhism, starting from the earliest records until today. All readings will be in English. Prerequisites: Solid foundation in either Buddhist studies or East Asian Studies. You must have taken at least one other course in Buddhist Studies. NOTE: Undergraduates must enroll for 5 units; graduate students can enroll for 3-5 units.
Wednesday
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
What is Tantra? Tantric forms of ritual and philosophy have been integral to the practice of Hinduism for most of its history. Tantra has provided initiates with a spiritual technology for embodying the divine and transcending the cycle of rebirth; on a social and political level, Tantra has mediated the institutions of Hindu kingship and appealed to a diverse population of initiates. This course covers a number of influential and well-documented Hindu tantric traditions, exploring several prominent features of Tantric religion as they develop historically, including: tantric ritual practice (core technologies of the subtle body, mantras, ma, alas, etc., along with the more notorious elements of sex and transgression), theology and philosophical speculation, as well as Tantra's relationship to the outside world and state power.
Tuesday
9:45 AM - 12:45 PM
This course will analyze both the reception in America of Asian religions (i.e. of Buddhism in the 19th century), and the development in America of Asian American religious traditions.
Tuesday Thursday
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Required of all majors and combined majors. The study of religion reflects upon itself. Representative modern and contemporary attempts to "theorize," and thereby understand, the phenomena of religion in anthropology, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, and philosophy. WIM.
Monday
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This seminar explores the role of women in Japanese Buddhism, starting from the earliest records until today. All readings will be in English. Prerequisites: Solid foundation in either Buddhist studies or East Asian Studies. You must have taken at least one other course in Buddhist Studies. NOTE: Undergraduates must enroll for 5 units; graduate students can enroll for 3-5 units.
Tuesday
9:45 AM - 12:45 PM
This course will analyze both the reception in America of Asian religions (i.e. of Buddhism in the 19th century), and the development in America of Asian American religious traditions.
Independent study in Buddhism. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.