AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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The seminar will allow an extended and focused examination of the historical background of Buddhism in networks of exchange, under colonialism—the previous global socio-economic system—and the present-day effects of global, or late, capitalism with its ability to transcend traditional national boundaries. In the same way that previous eras saw transcontinental and transoceanic patterns of trade as agencies in the transmission and transformation of Buddhism, there is an integral connection between the ability of contemporary consumer capitalism to make a presence in societies over the entirety of the globe and the technological changes that have contributed to increasingly globalized systems of communication and travel. there are two major areas of inquiry that the seminar explores. The first is the economic formation of Buddhism as an institution, such as the ways that Buddhism is represented, commodified, and marketed in capitalist society. The second area of inquiry is the ways that economic relations and capitalism have influenced the conception of Buddhism as an object of academic study.
Collapse of Empires: institutional changes created by larger social, political, and economic changes; this includes historical and contemporary instances, such as the collapse of the Pala Empire, and that of the Tibetan Empire, and more recent instances, such as the dissolution of direct colonialist domination and soviet control of economies; topics therefore also encompass neo-colonialism and post-colonialism. The Seminar actively encourages contributions that extend the horizon of discussion beyond the contemporary, that is, it seeks to include examples from any historical period, not just modern and post-modern. Also, while the Seminar seeks to support a sustained conversation of the different topics falling within its general theme, proposals are welcome from anyone—whether they have participated in the seminar in the past or not.