Whose voices are present? Whose voices are absent?

Some reflections on what I teach — and what I don’t.

nuns AFB

Contemporary Buddhist nuns.

Looking Back

Last year was my first time back in a Religious Studies classroom after two years away. As I returned to the classroom, I began to think more about the range of voices in a religious tradition, and the ways in which some of them (especially the voices of women) were not featured as prominently as they could have been in my courses.

One reason for this, I now realize, dealt with definition. How do I, as the teacher – and thus, the learning-materials-selector – define the discipline? Take the example of one course I have taught, Asian Religions. What does Asian Religions mean? The way that I define and understand this term will have significant implications for the texts/art/films/etc. that I choose – and by extension, the texts that I leave out. Continue reading

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Assorted Reflections from India

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am in India for two weeks with students from the US. The students arrived a week before I did, and have completed their second week here. This past week, we spent about three days in Ahmedabad at the Environmental Sanitation Institute, a Gandhi-inspired organization designed to promote health literacy in urban and rural India. After that we departed for Mumbai (where I’m writing this post), the Indian city of dreams, home to some 20 million people from all over India (and, of course, the world).

I don’t have a single theme or thread to explore here – and, sadly, no pictures at the moment, as internet connections are unreliable and slow – but I did want to share some moments that have stuck out.

Continue reading