WGSS 225
Buddhism, Social Change, & Reproductive Justice in the Anthropocene Fall 2023
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ASIA 258 / REL 258 / ANTH 258
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

This course considers how three women profoundly shaped the Buddha’s life and legacy in terms of social change & reproductive justice. Our central characters are Maya–the Buddha’s mother, who died shortly after delivering him; Pajapati–the Buddha’s stepmother & aunt who raised him; and Yasodhara–his wife, whom he abandoned when he left home to seek enlightenment. We explore the classical Buddhist discourses and modern biographies to explore how these three women impacted what the Buddha taught and practiced in terms of social and gender justice. These women helped shape the Buddha’s radical decision to found the first renunciate order for women in Asian history and helped shape Buddhist attitudes towards female empowerment, bodily autonomy, and reproductive justice for that past 2500 years. Our historical genealogy will explore how Buddhism continues to disrupte modern hierarchies of sex, gender, caste, & class while claiming reproductive and social justice. Along the way we consider: How did these three women reject existing social hierarchies in the Buddha’s day and with what impacts for modern Buddhist practices and institutions? How do the social transformations of the Buddha’s day still impact modern struggles for gender justice & reproductive justice in the Anthropocene?
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1641
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Attendance, writing weekly essays or written feedback. There are no grades first half of the semester but weekly feedback on writing.
Prerequisites: none, but a course in ANTH or REL is preferred
Enrollment Preferences: ANTH, REL, WGSS majors and ASIA concentrators
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASIA 258 Division II WGSS 225 Division II REL 258 Division II ANTH 258 Division II
WS Notes: We write every week--either 1500 word lead essays, or written feedback (and oral responses) to the lead essay and weekly text. We have a mid semester 'writing chat' with the instructor where we discuss strengths and weakness of individual student writing.
DPE Notes: We explore the three women who left a lasting legacy on the Buddha's teachings and practices in terms of gender egalitarianism, social justice, and reproductive justice. Our historical genealogy explores how Buddhism continues to disrupt modern hierarchies of sex, gender, caste, & class while claiming reproductive and social justice.

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