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  • Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes
    UPR 299 - CNRS
  • Campus Condorcet
  • 2, cours des Humanités
  • 93322 Aubervilliers Cedex
  • France
  • Tel : 01 88 12 11 03
  • himalaya[at]
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"Comparative anthropology of Buddhism" seminar (in French)

Programme for 2021-22

The "Comparative Anthropology of Buddhism" seminar will take the form, this year, of a more informal seminar-workshop. As in the past, it will address, session by session, the main categories of Buddhist (collective) rituals, but from now on by discussing the chapters of a summary book in preparation.

The angle of approach will still consists in a comparative study of the rituals of Buddhist societies based on original or already published ethnographies. Comparison, a key dimension of the analysis, is articulated around two poles, Theravāda Buddhism (and in particular Burmese) and Mahāyāna / Tantric Buddhism (and in particular Tibetan). Looking at rituals in the Buddhist world from a comparative anthropological perspective raises questions of typology, analysis of ritual configurations and place in a ritual field. This also requires an examination of what the specific characteristics of regional/national traditions or of more shared features of Buddhist traditions are : principles of effectiveness, forms of socio-religious anchorage, privileged ritual forms, etc. The aim will also be to revive existing debates on the theory of ritual.

In concrete terms, we will send the text of the different chapters a week in advance to all those who have informed us that they would like to take part in the seminar (or in a specific session). The seminar is open to all colleagues and students who are interested (this year it will not, however, count as validating a teaching unit). The programme is as follows :

Friday 5 November : Introduction (general considerations, terminology, main points of reference)
Friday 10 December : Ordination rituals
Friday 11 February : Donation rituals
Friday 8 April : Observances for laypersons
Friday 10 June : Rituals for reading canonical texts

Sessions will be held in the EHESS building on Campus Condorcet (metro line 12, get off at Front Populaire station, or RER B, get off at La Plaine – Stade de France station), in room A327, from 10am to 12am.

If you would like to be included in the mailing list for this year (or for a specific session), please inform us now (and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us).

Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière (Centre Asie du Sud-Est, CNRS/EHESS/INALCO) :
Nicolas Sihlé (Centre for Himalayan Studies, CNRS) :