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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Comparative Literature (CMLIT)

CMLIT 448 (IL) Literary Cultures of Buddhism (3) Comparative exploration of various Buddhist literary cultures, from the classical Indian subcontinent to modern movements like the Beats and dalit writing.

CMLIT 448 Literary Cultures of Buddhism (3)

This course will provide an in-depth exploration of various cultures of Buddhist literary production. Readings will cover a broad temporal and geographical range. Prior study of Buddhism or literature is not required and materials will be in English. Students will learn about major genres of Buddhist literature, such as sutras (scripture), j?taka (stories of the Buddha’s previous incarnations), hagiography, miracle tales, religiously inspired poetry, and k?an meditational riddles. The course will also examine the various forms into which contemporary authors have adapted these materials (such as manga, novels, memoirs, and film). The course, or individual units within the course, will be structured so that students develop an historical perspective, allowing them to understand the literary cultures that gave rise to the works under study.

Class work includes some lecture but emphasizes guided discussions, group work, writing exercises, and some student presentations. This participatory approach is intended to deepen students’ appreciation of the works, to help them understand value systems that may differ from those predominant in western cultures, and to assist students in developing both analytical and expressive abilities.

The course is designed to be suitable for all students generally interested in religious cultures of writing, in Buddhism, or in literature, whether or not they have previously studied in any of these areas. The Comparative Literature major requires a certain number of electives at the 400-level, of which this could be one, depending on its content. Further, the course is designed to count as General Education and as an IL (“International”) course. It will be taught, as feasible, every 2-3 years with an enrollment of 20-30 students. With the addition of supplementary reading and research assignments, the course may also be suitable for certain graduate students. This course would benefit from access to a laptop and digital projector.

General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2010
Prerequisite: 3 credits in literature

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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