PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Aberdeen
Outside the Palace, the Night: Spirits, landscape and perception among Buddhist laity in Ladakh, Himalayan India
MSc in Social Anthropology, Wolfson College, Oxford
BA (Hons) in Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
DR1087/2087 - Asian Religions and the West
This course examines the history of European and American encounters with Buddhism and Hinduism. It investigates the origins of these encounters in the context of European colonialism, and looks at the ways in which this tangled history has influenced modern representations of Asian religions.
Covering: colonialism and religion in South Asia; sati, thuggee and the East India Company; Oriental studies and the construction of Hinduism; the influence of the Theosophical Society; a brief history of yoga; Shambhala and Shangri-La; the many lives of the Tibetan Book of the Dead; meditation, mindfulness and 'scientific Buddhism'.
Special subject - Buddhism and Power
Since its inception, Buddhism has been intimately involved with political power. Early Buddhists advised local kings and tentatively grappled with the problems posed by political violence, later employing the imagery of kingship to envisage states of enlightenment. The pan-Asian success of the Buddhist doctrine of renunciation was founded, paradoxically, on the bloody expansion of the ancient Mauryan Empire; and in many parts of modern Asia, a Buddhist monk is more likely to be encountered playing the role of a populist demagogue than that of an impartial mediator. This reading-based course will examine the relationship between Buddhism and power, in its various aspects, leading up to assessment on the basis of one short essay (1250/1500 words at level 3/4) and one longer essay (3000/3500 words) on topics to be determined by the student.
DR2074 - Religions of the World: Asia
DR2575 - Theories of Religion
RS2505/2511 - Buddhism
- Further Info
Religion in Tibetan and Himalayan societies, Tibetan Buddhism, Ladakh and Zangskar, spirits and spirit possession, landscape, perception.
- Hidden lands and buried villages: the meaning of sbas yul in Ladakh. Presented at an invited workshop on Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History, University of Toronto, Canada.
- Unwritten lands: sbas yul in Ladakh and Zangskar. Presented at the 14th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, University of Bergen, Norway.
- Gifts from the hidden people: spirits and the uncanny in the landscape of a Zangskari village. Presented at the interdisciplinary conference Wild or Domesticated – Uncanny in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives to Mind, Tieteiden Talo, Helsinki, Finland.