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/ REL 232
Or, “From ‘Shark Tank’ to ‘Monk Cave’: Business and Socially Engaged Buddhism”. Television shows like Shark Tank, featuring a panel of potential investors who consider propositions from aspiring entrepreneurs, evinces that popular culture values only the making of profit. In such a capitalistic world, who are the “winners” and “losers”? What impact does a business/product have beyond its intended consumer benefits? What is the Buddhist response to business and commerce and its overall effects on individuals, society, and ecology? This course will challenge students to research, analyze, and devise resolutions for real world issues, by having students employ Buddhist solutions informed by concepts such as compassion, interconnectedness, and Socially Engaged Buddhism. Students will scrutinize the related concept of “structural violence”. We will look at examples from Bhutan’s “Gross Domestic Happiness”, Thailand’s “Sufficiency Economy”, China’s state-led religious charities under the name of “Humanistic Buddhism”, as well as the ordination of trees. This course hopes to prepare students to be critical, rather than merely passive, world citizens, especially in the realm of business, and to be more conscious and aware of their everyday life choices and its impact on every aspect of society.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
attendance and active participation 20%; short writing assignments 25%; mid-term exam 25%; final project and presentation 30%
Religious Studies majors and Asian Studies majors
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: