Courses in development

Sepia photograph of two Sinhalese Buddhist monks

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

Fall 2020TBDTo be determinedTBD
Fall 2019History 201Travel Writing as Historical SourcePernille Ipsen
Spring 2019Hist/Rel. Stud. 308Introduction to BuddhismAnne Hansen
Fall 2018Hist/Rel. Stud. 267Asian Religions in Global PerspectiveAnne Hansen
Fall 2017Rel. Stud. 102Religion in Sickness and HealthCorrie Norman

University of Colorado Boulder

Fall 2015RLST 2700American Indian Religious TraditionsGreg Johnson
Spring 2015RLST 2620East Asian Religious TraditionsRodney Taylor
Fall 2014RLST 2700American Indian Religious TraditionsGreg Johnson
Spring 2014RLST 1850Ritual and MediaHolly Gayley
Fall 2013RLST 3300Foundations of BuddhismHolly Gayley