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News & Events

Upcoming events


Thursday, November 13
5 pm Seelye 201

Willoughby Britton

Assistant Professor, Behavoral and Social Sciences Public Health Program and Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Medical School

"The Varieties of Contemplative Experience: An Empirical Study of American Buddhist Meditators"


 


Friday, November 14
4 pm Seelye 201

Jamal Elias

Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities
Professor of Religious Studies and South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania

"The Prayers of a Child: Piety, Virtue and Cuteness in Muslim Societies"

Mindfulness:
Burmese Roots and Mass(achusetts) Branches

A series of five talks at Smith in fall 2014
Buddhist meditation has become extremely popular in recent years, not just in traditional Buddhist settings, but studied by neuroscientists and practiced as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in your local schools. Few people realize, however, that the mass mindfulness movement is a recent Burmese development, the ideal counterpart to the "modern" forms of religion that were being brought to them by their colonial rulers and colonial education systems. This modern form of Buddhism was rational and scientific, the goals not restricted to the monastics (i.e., open to laity), not consistent with ritual practice, belief in spirits, demons, or magic, and ultimately founded on the psychological principles of an individual, inner science: meditation. Interesting, of course, is that this so-called "individual" meditation practice was rooted in an entire people's resistance to colonialism -- it was a "mass" meditation movement dominated by lay Buddhists and very successful in uniting disparate Burmese peoples in their opposition to colonialism.

Nearly 100 years later, Western seekers of awakening from the 1960's and onward discovered this rational, scientific, and individual practice of meditation. After years of ardent practice, they brought these traditions back to the West and founded some of the most important Buddhist meditation centers in America -- here in Massachusetts. Ramp forward a few more years, and several clinical psychologists take these practices out of the meditation center and into medical schools. . . and we have the birth of mindfulness-based stress reduction -- a new "Mass meditation movement", again centered here in Massachusetts.

This fall Smith College hosts a series of talks, Mindfulness: Burmese Roots and Mass(achusetts) Branches. We will explore the social and religious origins of the modern mindfulness movement as well as some issues that contemporary practitioners are raising about Western developments that are perhaps quite divergent from their Burmese origins. Please join us for this stimulating lecture series.

Thursday, September 25
David McMahan, Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies, Franklin and Marshall College
Buddhism in the Modern World; The Making of Buddhist Modernism; Empty Vision: Metaphor and Visionary Imagery in Mahayana Buddhism
Click here for his interview in Tricycle magazine
"Meditation in Context: From Ancient Buddhist Monastery to Modern Psychologist's Office"

Thursday, October 2
Erik Braun, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Oklahoma
The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw
"The Queen and the Monk: The Birth of Global Insight Meditation Movement in Colonial Burma"

Thursday, October 23
Ingrid Jordt, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Burma's Mass Lay Meditation Movement: Buddhism and the Cultural Construction of Power
"How Mindfulness Meditation Makes Social and Moral Worlds in Burma and the United States"

Thursday, November 13
Willoughby Britton, Assistant Professor, Brown University
www.brittonlab.com; Tricycle, Meditation Nation; The Dark Night project; TEDx talk: Why A Neuroscientist Would Study Meditation; A Phenomenology of Meditation-Induced Light Experiences: Traditional Buddhist and Neurobiological Perspectives in Frontiers in Psychology
"The Varieties of Contemplative Experience: An Empirical Study of American Buddhist Meditators"

Thursday, December 4
Jake Davis, City University of New York
From the Five Aggregates to Phenomenal Consciousness: Toward a Cross-Cultural Cognitive Science, Jake H. Davis & David R. Vago (2013); Can Enlightenment Be Traced to Specific Neural Correlates, Cognition, or Behavior? No, and (a Qualified) Yes in Frontiers in Psychology 4; Buddhist Geeks Podcast: BG 330: Quantifying Mindfulness
"What is Timeless about Mindfulness? The Path from Suffering to Awareness across Human Contexts"

Future events are also listed on our Facebook page.

Past events


Reverend Patti Nakai
Associate Minister, Buddhist Temple of Chicago, "Nirvana in Everyday Life: The Shin Buddhist Path", October 28, 2014

Download the poster (PDF)


 

Jacqueline E. Lapsley, Smith College Class of 1987; Associate Professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary, "The Bible as Fire: Power and Powerlessness in Interpreting the Hebrew Bible", October 20, 2014.


Download the poster (PDF)


 

Kennedy lecture poster


Download the poster
(PDF)

Torrance Kirby, 2013-2014 Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies and hosted at Smith by the Department of Religion, delivered a lecture series:

October 8, 2013: "Paul's Cross and the Culture of Persuasian: Tudor Origins of the Early-Modern Public Sphere"

October 29, 2013: "Public Conversion: Erasmian Reform and Richard Smyth's 'Retractation' at Paul's Cross, 1547"

November 12, 2013: "Politics and Hermeneutics: John Jewel's 'Great Challenge', 1559"

poster

Wayne Hankey, Carnegie Professor and Chair of Classics and Religious Studies, Dalhousie University and Kings College, "Convergences between Platonism and the Abrahamic Religions", October 17, 2013.

Download the poster (PDF)

 

2012-2013

Kornblatt poster

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin - Madison, "Divine Sophia - Russian Style", April 11, 2013.

 

Dorjee poster

Pema Dorjee, senior physician and technical adviser to the Research and Development Department of the Tibetan Medical Institute of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "Tibetan Medicine: Its Approach to Anxiety and Depression", April 8, 2013.

Mark Blum, Professor of Japanese Studies, SUNY Albany, "Think Buddha, Say Buddha, Dance Buddha", April 5, 2013.

Mark Blum poster

Batchelor

Stephen Batchelor, "The Secular Buddha", March 28, 2013.

Karl Donfried, Elizabeth A. Woodson 1992 Professor Emeritus of Religion, "Interpreting Saint Paul Today: Key Controversies and Their Theological Consequences", March 27, 2013.

Donfried


Anne Stewart
, '05, MDiv Princeton Theological Semirary, PhD, Emory Univerisity, "Passionate Pedagogy: Desire, Knowledge, and Moral Imagination in the Book of Proverbs", March 13, 2013.

Anne Stewart  

"Buddhism After the Tsunami", film screening and discussion, Monday, March 11, 2013.

Tsunami

Brose poster

Benjamin Brose, University of Michigan, "Resurrecting Xuanzang: The Modern Travels of a Medieval Monk", March 8, 2013.


The Nalanda Program, a two-week residential program in January 2013 for students to study and practice Buddhism in at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Mass.

Robert Haddad, Sophia Smith Professor Emeritus of History and Professor Emeritus of Religion and Biblical Literature, "Philosophical Theology and Science in Medieval Christianity and Islam: A Comparative Perspective", December 13, 2012.

Green Tara The Green Tara meditation and public talks by Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tsetan, Abbot, Tashi Lhunpo Monastary, South India, took place at Smith College in October 2012.

In addition, "The Three Principles of the Path: Renunciation, Altruisitic Mind & Wisdom" the Fifth Annual Seminar on Exploring Buddhism with Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tsetan and David Gardiner, Department of Religion, Colorado College, took place at Amherst College in October 2012. This three day event was co-sponsored by the Smith College Department of Religion.

Presentation BUX presentation

Johnson

October 18, 2012

Luke T. Johnson, Emory University, "Jesus Among the Philosophers: Ancient Conceptions of Happiness"

October 16, 2012

Elizabeth Napper, Tibetan Nuns Project, "The Education of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns"

Napper
Meeks

September 28, 2012

Lori Meeks, University of California, "Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra: Early-Modern Commentaries on Women’s Salvation in Japanese Buddhism” 

 

2011-2012

new event Ian Ker Lecture

 

new event New Lecture

 

                       Banaras Soul Music 2011

 

Banaras

 

 

  Monday, October 24

      Neilson Browsing Room

 

 

           Sara McClintock

       Department  of Religion

              Emory University  

                          

                          "Aesthetic Shock"

        

Ganish

 

 

October 22

      Hallie Flanagan Studio  

       Theatre (Green Street)

                                                                    

            NORTH INDIAN

    CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERT

 

                

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Buddhism & Gender Identity

Karma Lekshe Tsomo


Associate Professor of Theology
& Religious Studies, University of San Diego;
President, Sakyadhhita: International Association of Buddhist Women; Director, Jamyang Foundation

April 4, 2011                         

Sponsored by the Ada Howe Kent Fund

Smith Logo

 

 

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"Weaving Woman's History": From the Bible to Radical Jewish Feminism Spring 2011 Lecture Series

Susan Ackerman,Professor of Religion, Dartmouth, "Spinning the Garments of the Gods: Women's Religious Weaving in the Ancient Near East"

                                                                

March 3, 2011

Fall 2010

 

  Green Tara

 

Madhyamaka Buddhist Ethics

          Tom Tillemans     

    University of Lausanne

 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

5:30 p.m.

Neilson Library Browsing Room

Smith College, Northampton, MA

Sponsored by the Heshey Family Foundation and the Ada Howe Kent Fund

A continuation of Madhyamaka and Methodology: A Symposium on Buddhist Theory & Method held on April 23-25, 2010   webcast at: http://www.smith.edu/buddhism/event-mmsymp.php

     Free and open to the public and the room is wheelchair accessible


Religion Department hosts Wayne A. Meeks, William Allan Neilson Professor, 2010-2011 Wayne A. Meeks

Wayne A. Meeks is Woolsey Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus in the Department of Religious Studies, Yale University, where he taught from 1969 until 1999. He was Chairman of the Department 1972-75, Acting Chairman 1978-79, 1982-83, and Director of the Division of the Humanities of the University 1988-91. Earlier, he taught at Indiana University 1966-69 and Dartmouth College 1964-65, and before that he was a campus pastor in Memphis, Tennessee, for the Presbyterian Church. He has served as president of the two leading professional societies in his field, the Society of Biblical Literature (1985) and Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (2004-5). He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala and is a fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is best known for his publications on the writings of the apostle Paul and on the Fourth Gospel, for his investigation of the social history of earliest Christianity, and for work on the formation of early Christian morality.

 

In addition to three public talks, Professor Meeks will also participate in a special Kahn Institute project, Through a Glass Darkly: Reading the New Testament in a Postmodern World. The Kahn Project is organized by Religion faculty Joel Kaminsky, Suleiman Mourad, and Vera Shevzov.

The three public talks are:

Monday, September 27:
The Myth of Self-Interpreting Text: Communities Making Scripture Making Communities

The metaphor so familiar in religious and even in political discourse, "The New Testament tells us...," or "The Bible teaches...," conceals complex strategies. What do we mean when we claim that a text "speaks" with authority? How does a text get to be sacred? Communities may be created by sacred texts—but sacred texts evolve in communities. What is the social and cultural process by which this dialectic works? Professor Wayne Meeks will explore the complex interplay of religious text and community in this first lecture in the Neilson Professor series.

Monday, September 27, 2010 • 4:30 pm • Neilson Browsing Room, Neilson Library, Smith College • Free and open to the public.

Monday, October 18:
Naming Jesus: History, Midrash, and Myth

The earliest followers of Jesus struggled to find appropriate images to say who Jesus was—to themselves and to others. This was a self-involving process, for it was at the same time a struggle for the identity of a new movement. It was at heart an interpretive process, both in the broad sense that the work of forming an identity always interprets the world and simultaneously interprets one's own being in it, and in the specific sense that sacred texts and traditions about their meaning were centrally involved. In this second lecture in the Neilson Professor series, Wayne Meeks will discuss this process and explore how comparing it with other movements of the time, both within Judaism and in the wider culture of the Mediterranean basin, helps us to understand it better.

Monday, October 18, 2010 • 4:30 pm • Neilson Browsing Room, Neilson Library, Smith College • Free and open to the public.

Monday, November 8:
The Rise and Fall of Historicism—and What Do We Do Now?

The emergence of what we have called scientific history and confidence
that such history could determine what the New Testament means have been
a central theme in post-Enlightenment history. That confidence has, to say the least, been severely shaken in recent decades. We have discovered that, inevitably, our pictures of the past are shaped by reflections of ourselves and our cultures. But if history can't answer our questions, what can? What remains the useful role of history in interpretation—and what kind of history? Wayne Meeks will examine these challenging questions in his third and final lecture in the Neilson Professor series.

Monday, November 8, 2010 • 4:30 pm • Neilson Browsing Room, Neilson Library, Smith College • Free and open to the public.


 

Khen Rinpoche (Geshe Lobsang Tsetan), Abbot of Tashilhunpo Monastery

 

Green Tara Meditation Sessions

Oct. 13, 14, 15, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28 29, Nov. 1, 2 3, 4, in Dewey House Common Room, 4:30-5:30PM

Public Lectures:

October 26: "Dependent Origination"

November 2: "Emptiness"

Dewey Common Room, 7:30-8:30PM

All are free and open to the public

Sponsored by the Ada Howe Kent Fund, Department of Religion and the East Asian Studies Program.

                       


 

Europe and Islam:

The Cartoon Crisis and the Challenge of Multiculturalism

Wednesday, October 20, 12 noon - 1:00 pm

Neilson Library Browsing Room, Smith College

Lecture/symposium highlighting recent Danish experiences withntegrating non-European immigrants: what works and what doesn't; as well as integration of Islam after 9/11 to be illustrated by the cartoon issue and other recent events.

Bertel Haarder is the Danish Minister for the Interior and Health. A political scientist, he has been a member of the Danish government for almost 19 years, the longest serving member of the government since World War II. He has previously served as Minister of Education and Research, Minister for Nordic Affairs, Development Affairs and Church Affairs, and Minister for European Affairs and Integration of Immigrants. Mr. Haarder was first elected to the Danish Parliament in 1975 and served in the European Parliament 1994-2001.

Jytte Klausen is a Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation and Comparative Politics at Brandeis University. She is the author of The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe, War and Welfare: Europe and the United States: 1945 to the Present. Her latest book is The Cartoons that Shook the World (Yale University Press 2009), describing the 2006 political conflict in the Muslim world following the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by a Danish newspaper.

Mlada Bukovansky, is Associate Professor of Government at Smith College. Her book, Legitimacy and Power Politics: The American and French Revolutions in International Political Culture, was published in 2002 by Princeton University Press. Professor Bukovansky teaches courses on international politics, international relations theory, international organizations, and European politics.

Moderator: Suleiman Mourad, Professor of Religion/Faculty Director of the Global Studies Center.

Sandwiches will be provided.

images.jpg Global Studies Center

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Devashish Dey Recital

Smith College Presents

A Concert of Hindustani Classical Vocal Music

Pandit Devashish Dey in Recital

On His First American Tour

Friday, October 1, 2010, 7:00 p.m.

Sweeney Auditorium - Sage Hall

Sponsored by Tibetan Studies, Ada Howe Kent Fund, Music Department and the Smith College Lecture Committee

This event is Free and Open to the Public


Smith College Presents

Religious Tolerance and Womens Rights in Northeast Africa

by

Helen Knife Woldeyhannes

Tuesday, September 21, 7:30 pm

Neilson Library Browsing Room

 

Sponsored by the Smith College Lecture Committee, Smith Office of Religious Life, Center for Global Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Religion, the African Studies Program, and the Program of the Study of Women and Gender

 


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