Looking for a course to fill your schedule? Well check out this new 7-week course in Topics in Southeast Asian Studies, ASIAN 4494/6604!
Topic: Karma, Causation, and Mental Health in Asia: Religious Ways of Perceiving.
How do we come to see what we see? How are cultural and religious theories about a healthy mind implicated in processes of perception? How do people in religious communities across Asia train themselves to perceive reality in particular ways? This graduate/upper-undergraduate seminar will examine these questions through an exploration of religious techniques of perception training in contemporary Asian religious contexts, from Buddhist theories of karma to meditative technologies to supernatural spirit interventions and more. In weekly sessions we will interrogate social practices of attention training through ethnographic accounts, historical texts, religious teachings, and popular media, with a focus on lived experience and the many controversies surrounding ideals and practice. Topics covered include theories of religious embodiment; mediumship; mental health and illness; the psychology of marketing; and an increasingly internet-dependent Asian society. By exploring these issues will come to understand how perception and culture are co-constructed in practice, and how religious traditions respond to the age-old question of how to live well. Students will be expected to prepare short weekly readings response papers, contribute to a hands-on group research project, and participate in class discussions.