This graduate seminar introduces students to the study of Buddhism in Theravada
Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka through a critical survey of recent scholarship in such fields as religious history,
cultural history and literary history, focusing on the modern era. Once dismissed as Buddhism of the “Lesser
Vehicle”, Theravada Buddhism is a dynamic field of belief and practice whose responses to modernity include
moral reform, textual purification, anticolonial protest, passive disobedience, meditation movements and militant
nationalism. Topics may include vernacular narratives, ordination lineages, textual culture, scriptural reform,
anticolonial resistance, biography, knowledge production. Students will engage with interdisciplinary approaches
through discussion and apply frameworks from our course texts to primary source analysis in written