Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University
Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University;
Director, South Asia Program, Cornell University
In the first half of the second millennium, the southern Asian region we now know as Sri Lanka, peninsular India, Burma, Thailand, and the Malay Peninsula came to be bound together more tightly through changing regimes of seaborne trade that affected linked maritime and riverine networks. This tighter integration within the Bay of Bengal-Gulf of Siam arena had substantial implications for the Buddhist worlds of what we now call South and Southeast Asia. This seminar will introduce a new research project that aims to deepen our understanding of the relationships between Buddhist monks, monastic centers, and royal courts across this region. Arguably, a new “politico-cultural space” (Subrahmanyam 1998) emerged, constituted through the mobility of people and things, as well as the geographic and historical claims made by monastic lineage texts, royally supported Buddhist world histories, and changes in the built environment of Buddhist practice.
Anne M. Blackburn is Professor of South Asia Studies and Buddhist Studies in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. She received her BA from Swarthmore College, and MA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago.
Blackburn studies Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, with a special interest in Buddhist monastic culture and Buddhist participation in networks linking Sri Lanka and mainland Southeast Asia before and during colonial presence in the region. Her publications include Buddhist Learning and Textual Practice in Eighteenth-Century Lankan Monastic Culture (Princeton, 2001),Approaching the Dhamma: Buddhist Texts and Practices in South and Southeast Asia, co-edited with Jeffrey Samuels (BPS Pariyatti Editions, 2003), and Locations of Buddhism: Colonialism and Modernity in Sri Lanka (Chicago, 2010).