“Sermons provide one, often unexplored, source for how Buddhism is understood and explained. Drawing on my fieldwork among Shan of Northwestern Thailand, I explore the nature of Shan sermons. I first present a brief overview about Shan culture to provide the context for these sermons and then discuss sermon giving occasions and the general styles of sermons. I briefly summarize four sermons delivered at the festival that celebrates the end of the Rains Retreat and analyze their content and style. In conclusion, I argue that while sermons are often overlooked, they provide an important resource for the study of Buddhism.”
Professor Tannenbaum is a professor of anthropology at Lehigh University in the Sociology and Anthropology Department. This term she is the Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the School for Oriental and African Studies. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Iowa in 1982.
Her research area is mainland Southeast Asia, in particular Thailand; she has been doing research among Shan in Northwestern Thailand since the summer of 1977. Her dissertation research was on farming but since then she has explored a number of topics, but her recent focus has been on Shan religion and the place of Buddhism within it.
The lecture will take place at Balliol College, lecture room XXlll at 5.30pm on Monday 7 May.
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