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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Spring 2009

AMS 327 • Buddhism inAmerica

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29350 T
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
bur 436a

Course Description

This is an advanced undergraduate seminar that traces the history of Buddhism in the United States since the early nineteenth century. After considering the history of Asian immigrants who brought Buddhism with them and American-born converts who embraced it here, we take some first steps toward a cultural history of Buddhism in the U.S. since 1945, analyzing the tradition's influence on fiction, poetry, how-to books, painting, video art, film, the internet, comics, martial arts, music, psychology, and medicine.

Grading Policy

(1) a final research project (30%): Students will explore in depth one Buddhist temple or center in Texas or do a research paper on one form of American Buddhism (2) a final project proposal (5%) (3) an (8 minute) oral presentation (12%) about the final research project (4) An analysis paper (15%) of 2 pages on some book or artifact that shows Buddhist influence in American culture (5) a midterm exam (30%) (6) regular and informed class participation (8%)


Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero, ed., Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (Oxford University Press, 1999). Thomas A. Tweed, The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent (University of North Carolina Press, 2000). Richard Seager, Buddhism in America (Columbia University Press, 2000). Wendy Cadge, Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America (University of Chicago, 2004). Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums (Penguin, 1971; originally 1958). Recommended but not required text: Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism (Oxford University Press, 1998).


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