Culture and Ethnic Studies: Final Project Draft
Find a living or recent figure of Buddhist authority. You can use the different databases on contemporary Buddhism provided below or decide to explore the example behind one of our weekly meditation challenges—however, not the life histories we already explored in our lecture modules and/or tutorials. You may especially choose to explore the many cases of female masters active around the world today. Your task is to critically assess the religious background and activity of the teacher, and how his/her activity are related to the different discourses on global Buddhism (“activity” = the religious tasks the master is engaged in: rituals and ceremonies, giving talks on Buddhist topics, founding and guiding Buddhist centres or networks of centres, guiding disciples, interacting with the public on religious topics, etc.).
In other words, the key question for this assignment is:
What kind of Buddhism is this teacher teaching and endorsing?
Explain how the teacher’s background relates to traditional Buddhism. Do they have the credentials to be seen as an authority within their Buddhist school or lineage? What kind of religious training did they receive to become an authority?
Can you recognize any modernist elements in their activity? Do these traits represent a departure from tradition and if so, how?
Express your appraisal or critique of the activity. Remember to use persuasive arguments regarding the religious activity rather than resort to personal criticisms.
As an alternative to a focus on a single teacher, you can also find two prominent Buddhist figures and compare their backgrounds and activity.
Group work (3-4 people maximum). As a group, you will submit the final version of your work on the Assignments page (under “Final project”). Your work should be pre-recorded and shared in one of the following forms:
Power Point presentation with pre-recorded comments
Podcast paired with a visual file (slides or poster)
PDF posters with audio comment
Sources and research
Here’s where to start:
Database of *several* Buddhist networks and masters around the world http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/
Database of Canadian Buddhism http://www.directory.sumeru-books.com/?url=canadianbuddhism.info
Women masters http://lhamo.tripod.com/2general.htm
(scroll down and click the different traditions to access the great number of female masters grouped accordingly)
A good general resource http://www.buddhanet.net
When you have made your choice:
Go to the master’s website and other related websites
Consult our weekly readings and other course materials
Locate *scholarly* resources online (through UofT library)
Find your group (People: Groups: Final project). You can also do this by advertising your topic via the Discussions page. *Everyone* must be a part of a group by Week 6! If you are left out, please contact the instructor. The instructor also reserves the right to assign you into groups herself.
You should research and work on your project as a group. A good tool to use is through Bb Collaborate: simply create a meeting with other students in your group. It is your responsibility to divide the tasks evenly and make sure that everyone contributes the same amount of time and effort, otherwise someone might take credit for your hard work!
Pin your draft project on the Discussions board for peer-review by other groups. (At this stage, textual description or bullet points are also fine. Already at this point, make sure you enclose a list of sources used). Deadline: July 14. You are expected to engage in discussions of other projects.
Re-work your presentation basing on the feedback received and submit your final work. Make sure you include a list of sources used.
Deadline: August 3