Hypnotic Ecologies and Thin Description in the Study of SEA Buddhist Art

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Hypnotic Ecologies and Thin Description in the Study of SEA Buddhist Art

Why are Buddhist monasteries places of such overwhelming ornament, opulent design, and excessive displays of wealth?

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Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Auditorium @ Level 2 11 Kent Ridge Drive Singapore, 119244 Singapore

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Hypnotic Ecologies and Thin Description in the Study of SEA Buddhist Art image

DISTINGUISHED LECTURE

Hypnotic Ecologies and Thin Description in the Study of Southeast Asian Buddhist Art

You are invited to a distinguished lecture “Hypnotic Ecologies and Thin Description in the Study of Southeast Asian Buddhist Art” by Professor Justin McDaniel (University of Pennsylvania). Prof McDaniel will graciously serve as the inaugural speaker for the first FASS Distinguished Lecture Series in Buddhist Studies (website), organized by the FASS Research Division at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Programme

6:30pm Registration

7:00pm Welcome Remarks by Associate Professor Elmie Nekmat, FASS Assistant Dean of Research (NUS Department of Communications and New Media)

7:05pm Opening Remarks by Assistant Professor Jack Meng-Tat Chia, Convener of Lecture Series (NUS Department of History)

7:10pm Lecture by Distinguished Speaker, Professor Justin McDaniel (University of Pennsylvania)

8:00pm Q & A and Discussion, Moderated by Associate Professor Irving Johnson (NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies)

8:30pm Refreshments

9:00pm End of Event

Abstract

Why are Buddhist monasteries, supposedly places of quiet reflection and meditation, the slow and methodical study of texts places of such overwhelming ornament, opulent design, and excessive displays of wealth? In this paper, we will explore some theoretical approaches to examine the very nature of beauty and how scholars may study it not despite Buddhist teachings of non-attachment and selflessness, but in tandem with it.

Speaker Bio

Justin McDaniel is the Kahn Endowed Chair of the Humanities and Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his PhD at Harvard University in the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies. His research foci include Lao, Thai, Pali and Sanskrit literature, art and architecture, and manuscript studies. His first book, Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words, won the Harry Benda Prize. His second book, The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magic Monk, won the Kahin Prize. His third book, Architects of Buddhist Leisure, was supported by grants from the NEH and Kyoto University. He has two new books -- Wayward Distractions: Studies in Thai Buddhism (National University of Singapore and Kyoto University Presses) and Cosmologies and Biologies: Siamese Illuminated Manuscripts (Holberton). He also has published edited volumes on Asian Manuscripts and Material Culture, Buddhist Biographies, Buddhist Art, Buddhist Ritual, and Buddhist Literature. He has published over 100 articles and book reviews on a wide variety of subjects in Buddhist Studies, Material Culture, and Religious Studies. He also has forthcoming work on the study of Human Flourishing and the Discipline of Religious Studies. He has received grants from the NEH, Mellon, Rockefeller, Fulbright, PACRIM, Luce, the SSRC, among others. He has won teaching and advising awards at Harvard U, Ohio U, the University of California, and the Ludwig Prize for Teaching at Penn. He was named one of the top ten most innovative professors in America by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2019 and his work on pedagogical methods in the controversial courses Existential Despair and Living Deliberately have been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and many other venues. He was named a Guggenheim Fellow and a fellow of Kyoto University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

About the FASS Distinguished Lecture Series in Buddhist Studies

The annual FASS Distinguished Lecture Series in Buddhist Studies, funded by an endowment established via a generous donation by the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, brings a distinguished professor in Buddhist Studies to the National University of Singapore.

Free