Courses in development
Coming Summer, 2021!
The Historian’s Craft:
Sex and Love in Asian Religions
examines the religious history of everyday life in Southeast and South Asia from the standpoints of desire, love, and intimacy. While almost all of the world’s religious and spiritual systems purport to address the myriad issues of human embodiment—longing, suffering, intimate desire, and above all these, love—so often in their institutionalized and politicized forms, they have at best ignored, and at worst willfully neglected, the voices and experiences of women and gender nonconforming people.
What happens when we look at religious life beyond its canonical scriptures and its ordained hierarchies? What local and noninstitutional histories of everyday life remain? In what ways might historical studies of “gender,” “sexuality” and “religion” be profitably intertwined? And in doing so, what implications might this have on our methods and work as historians?
This course brings together three case studies which pair primary and secondary sources rooted in queer love and sexuality in (mainly) Southeast and South Asia as they are inflected by religious life or forms of identification. Each week, conversations about historical methods and skills center the preceding questions as we study gender nonconforming Buddhist monastics, sex workers, migrant poets, Hindu goddesses, and queer cinema together with contextualizing voices in religious and gender history.
“Slow film” and diasporic love collide in “I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone,” a 2006 film by Malay-Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang.
Religion and Politics in the Indian Ocean:
Buddhism (and Islam)
surveys the development, interaction, and spread of Buddhist and Muslim people, ideas, practices, and political formations in the Indian Ocean region. The course is intended for History, Religious Studies, and Asian Studies majors, and can be adapted for online, hybrid, and writing–intensive environments and learning outcomes. Our voyage begins with ordination networks of seafaring nuns in the fifth century, drops in on wandering Southeast Asian and Silk Road tariqas and traders, explores two waves of European trading company mediation of religious life in the region, and ends with international women’s networks and gendered postcolonial Buddhist nationalism in early twentieth century Asia.
In order to assess how emerging paradigms in “global” or “connected” history can help us take stock of religion as a major feature in the history of the region, our approach will be to pair primary and secondary source readings from nuns, political elites, traders, missionaries, ordinary people, and religious texts alongside developing literature on Indian Ocean history, global and connected history, and with insights from religious studies and cultural anthropology. Throughout, the course emphasizes cultivating the skills to “see through the eyes” of Buddhist and Muslim religious specialists, monarchs, and especially the everyday people whose writings, artwork, stories, meditations, poems, and dreams cut across these richly textured, trans–historical flows we have come to call “Buddhism” and “Islam.”
The connected ideas, people, moments, and images we explore will allow us to engage Buddhism and Islam as both an historical reality alongside our own developing perspectives about these rich and diverse cultural flows. As a broad survey, this course is chiefly geared toward exploring the many horizons of the land-and-seascapes of Buddhism and Islam as they have existed, changed, and been imagined and invoked over many centuries.
Studioportret van twee Buddhistische Priesters met Waaiers in de hand in Ceylon. W.L.H. Skeen & Co., 1870–1904, Rijksmuseum (RP-F-F80078)
As a Graduate & Teaching Assistant
“Best Should Teach” Silver Award, CU–Boulder Graduate School
Lead Graduate Teacher for Religious Studies, CU–Boulder
University of Wisconsin–Madison
|2020-21 AY||TA Coordinator||History Writing Lab|
|Fall 2019||History 201||Travel Writing as Historical Source||Pernille Ipsen|
|Spring 2019||Hist/Rel. Stud. 308||Introduction to Buddhism||Anne Hansen|
|Fall 2018||Hist/Rel. Stud. 267||Asian Religions in Global Perspective||Anne Hansen|
|Fall 2017||Rel. Stud. 102||Religion in Sickness and Health||Corrie Norman|