[INDOLOGY] Call for Papers: The UK Association for Buddhist Studies Annual Conference 2023

Nic Newton nic_newton at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Sep 7 12:15:36 UTC 2022

Dear Indologists, 

The UK Association for Buddhist Studies is pleased to announce that ourannual conference for 2023 will take place at the Universityof St Andrews, Scotland, 21-23 June 2023. The conference issupported by the St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology.

The theme of the conference is Negotiating Boundaries in Buddhism andBuddhist Studies.

Constructed boundaries divide one religion from another, one ethnicgroup from another, and define gender identities. Further, boundaries existwithin many arenas of secular, social and professional life. Within academia,such firm boundaries exist between academics in different disciplines that twopeople working in the same field at the same institution can be completelyunaware of one another. To a casual or uninvested observer, such boundaries canappear clear and solid; on closer inspection they are revealed as porous,complex, contested. For instance, there appears to be a clear boundary betweenlay and ordained Buddhists across different Buddhist traditions, but temporaryordination is common in some cultures, as is the taking of extra precepts bylaity during retreat or on certain days of the month, and Vajrayāna yogisand yoginīs blur this distinction further. As well, culturalpractices such as festivals can cut across boundaries between Buddhist andnon-Buddhist groups in a society, and plural and hybrid identities problematisethe very category of ‘Buddhist’. Converts to Buddhism face negotiating theirnew identity and adapting habits and behaviours. Theoretically, the concept of anatta challengesgender or sexuality as fixed categories, but inclusivity might not be playedout in the lived experience of Buddhists. From student to professor,scholar-practitioners in Buddhist Studies continually hop across a boundarybetween critically distant academic and sympathetic insider. Furthermore,Buddhist Studies itself is not a limited good existing solely for its own sake,but has come to inform and be informed by a range of academic disciplinesincluding law, business studies, neuroscience, peace studies, politics, andphilosophy amongst others. In fact, Buddhist studies has previously imposed itsown boundaries on various aspects of Buddhist tradition by the habit oftaxonomy in its critical study: for example, the perceived divides betweenmeditation and text, or text and ritual, and those imagined between artefactand embodied presence. Methodological and categorical insights from variousdisciplines may well contribute to the construction of new lines ofdemarcation, or facilitate the disruption of others.

For the conference, our aim is to explore avariety of boundaries including, but not limited to:

·     Perceivedboundaries between religious ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’

·     Constructedboundaries between academic disciplines

·     Contestedboundaries between one religion and another

·     Erectedboundaries between those inside the academy and those outside

This conference welcomes papers that explore these boundaries. We wouldparticularly welcome papers from academics who do not affiliate to BuddhistStudies but whose work is informed by Buddhist Studies.

The call for panels and proposals opens on the 6thSeptember 2022 and closes on the 5th January 2023. Details andsubmission guidelines can be found on the UKABS website: https://ukabs.org.uk/2023-conference/

On behalf of theUKABS 2023 Organizing Committee: Dr Elizabeth Harris (University of Birmingham), President of UKABS, DrNick Swann (University of South Wales), UKABS Secretary, Prof. Alice Collett(University of St Andrews) and Dr Nic Newton.  

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