[Buddha-l] CFP The Buddhist Revival in Asia, Singapore 15-16 Dec 2011

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Sun Oct 31 13:11:44 MDT 2010

X-posted this CFP for its description of what the organisers
perceive to be an ongoing and widespread phenomenon. Have to
admit I'm pleasantly surprised.   

October 31, 2010

Call for papers: Conference on the Buddhist Revival in Asia,
Singapore, December 15-16, 2011
From: Nayanjot Lahiri <nayanjot at gmail.com>



The proposed conference aims to bring together scholars who have
examined the many manifestations of Buddhist revival in Asia.
This revival is among the most striking pan-Asian cultural
phenomena of modern times, stretching from India and Sri Lanka,
across Myanmar and Thailand to China and Japan.

While 'revival' is usually understood as a restoration of what
had declined or disappeared to its original form, it is used here
in a broader sense. 'Revival'  is deployed here for describing
the varied developments and changes that took place in Buddhism,
and  the expansion in the religion's  popularity and patronage
during the nineteenth century and continuing well into the
twentieth. There are many aspects of this revival which have been
researched and analyzed by historians, archaeologists,
anthropologists, and scholars of religious studies. Such research
has highlighted common patterns in this revival as also
differences in the issues and challenges that mark  the character
of modern Buddhism in different countries. The ways in which the
textual study of Buddhism, archaeological discoveries, and the
conservation of Buddhist sites aided the revival is well
understood. The lives and work of individuals  who played a key
role in this revival have also been examined and researched.

The attempts to establish a 'pure' Buddhism across Asia, as a
consequence of the encounter between its believers and the
challenges posed by colonialism, Christianity and modernization
has attracted wide attention as well.  Similarly, the forging of
links - aided by quicker modes of travel, publishing houses, and
Buddhist clubs and associations - in what has been described as a
'Pan-Asian axis' among Buddhist adherents and sympathizers,  and
its contribution in propelling this revival have been delineated
and documented. At the same time, while  the relationship of
Buddhism with nationalism and  attempts by the State  to use the
Sangha for achieving politically  defined ends  has been observed
in some countries, this has remained absent in others. The nature
of the 'revival' too has been demonstrated as being differently
understood depending upon the national context. In a few
nation-states, this has meant the reinvigoration of Buddhism
following many centuries of decline while in other instances,
this implies the resurgence of a religion that had initially
declined under British rule.

While such research has helped in a better appreciation of common
and different elements that make up the revival, and the
conference organizers would be delighted to have contributions
from scholars on such themes, simultaneously, it is expected that
many other aspects of this revival will also attract scholarly
scrutiny.  Can  the term 'revival', for example,  be considered
as appropriate for the resurgence of Buddhism in modern Asia?
Was Buddhism across Asia in a state of decay? How does the great
variety in the modern forms of Buddhism compare with earlier
counterparts?  In view of the creative religious innovations and
changes in some regions, does 'reinvention' capture the character
of modern Buddhism better than 'revival'? How have sacred sites,
pilgrimage and the transnational flows of ideas and people
provided visibility to, and unity among, Buddhists? Again, within
a national community, did Buddhist revival succeed in
homogenizing the different forms of the religion or did these
continue to exist?  How has the religion's beliefs and practices
aided the conversion of oppressed castes and classes, and how
have new communities of adherents changed the character of
Buddhism?  These are some themes that can be explored in the
papers that the conference hopes to attract so that  the Buddhist
revival in Asia can be revisited in a variety of ways and through
a comparative perspective.

Dates: 15th-16th December 2011
Place: Singapore

Submission of Paper Proposals: Paper proposals should include a
title and a 400-word abstract, together with a short biography of
the applicant.

Proposals should be received by 30th December 2010 and successful
applicants will be informed of their acceptance by 7th February

All participants will be provided with three nights accommodation
in Singapore. Requests for assistance for air fare, especially
from Asian countries, will be sympathetically considered.

Proposals should be directed to:
Nayanjot Lahiri (nayanjot at gmail.com)
Upinder Singh  (upinders at gmail.com)

Hard copies can be sent to:
Buddhist Revival in Asia Conference,
Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
30 Heng Mui Keng Terrace
Singapore 119614

Conference Committee:
Nayanjot Lahiri, Upinder Singh, Tansen Sen, Peter van der Veer,
Geoff Wade
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