International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies: 17th Biennial Conference

The International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies will be holding its Seventeenth Biennial conference at the Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley, beginning Friday, 7 August, through Sunday, 9 August, 2015. More detailed information here. Note, that the deadline for submitting an abstract for a presentation has been extended to January 15th.

Pure Land belief and practice originates with the cult/s of Amitābha and Amitāyus in India, and has spread throughout much of the Buddhist world. The scope of the conference, therefore, extends to the academic study of Pure Land Buddhism generally, that is, in any of its forms, as well as giving specific attention to the Shin Buddhist tradition of Japan.

The Call for Papers:

Subjectivity in Pure Land Buddhism:

 17th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies (IASBS)

Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, California

Friday, August 7 to Sunday, August 9, 2015

Abstracts due: January 15, 2015

Papers due: July 7, 2015

Studies of Pure Land Buddhism — which address the thought, practice, and iconography of Pure Land throughout the historical development of Buddhism generally— are often rooted in modern discourses of religious studies that take certain foundational concepts for granted: individuality, subjectivity, historicity. But how have the referents of these modern concepts been understood in relation to Pure Land Buddhist doctrine and praxis? How has subjectivity, the answer to the question of who “I” am or who “we” are, been understood across Buddhist cultures and histories? How does the “who” exist? How is it known? How is it experienced? The 17th Biennial Meeting of the IASBS invites individual paper and (four paper) panel proposals related to questions of subjectivity in Pure Land Buddhism.

 Papers might address questions such as:

– Does awareness of living in the declining age of the dharma (mappō) affect the way persons understand their relationship to Pure Land thought or practice? Is mappō necessary for Pure Land practice?

– How are notions of subjectivity understood, problematized, or described?

– Can subjectivity be understood as communal or collective or is it necessarily personal and individual?

– How have Pure Land Buddhist communities reframed subjectivity in relation to collectives as opposed to individuals?

– Who am “I” or who are “we” as scholars of Pure Land Buddhism?

– How do religious or spiritual experience, often presumed in Western religious thought to transcend the personal, undermine notion of individual subjectivity?

– How does subjectivity relate to language?

– Does subjectivity in Pure Land Buddhism necessarily include an awareness of history?

Papers and panels may address all aspects of Pure Land Buddhist studies from any Buddhist culture (Japan, India, China, Tibet, Vietnam, Korea, the West, etc.) or from any time period, historical or modern, and approached from a variety of methodological lenses.

Proposals should include a title, a 150-word abstract, author’s name and institutional affiliation. Panels should include all of the above for each member of the panel as well as a title for the panel and suggestions for moderators or respondents.

Please submit abstracts to by January 15, 2015.

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