February 19, 2020

Abishek Amar on Negotiating the Layers: Material History in our Teaching

In this episode, Sarah Richardson speaks with Abishek Amar, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Hamilton College. Abhishek specializes in the archaeological history of South Asian religions, and he is leading a digital research project, Sacred Centers in India, which examines material, culture and texts that reveal histories of the Hindu and Buddhist cities of Gaya and Bodhgaya.

Sarah and Abishek talk about what it means to teach about Indian Buddhism in a small liberal arts college in the U.S. They discuss some of the many ways that Buddhism can be studied, and how a nuanced understanding of the history of Buddhism can be gleaned from modern archaeological sites and how they’ve been reconstructed, and from the examination of material culture more generally.

Resources Mentioned

Kevin Trainor’s book, Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide, published by Oxford University Press, in 2004.

Gregory Schopen’s 1991 article, “Archaeology and Protestant Presuppositions in the Study of Indian Buddhism” in History of Religions 31(1), pp. 1-23.

Abhishek Amar’s book, Cross-disciplinary Biography of a Contested Buddhist Site, edited jointly with David Geary (Oxford University, UK), and Matthew R. Sayers (Lebanon Valley College, USA), London: Routledge Publication, 2012.

Abhishek Amar’s 2012 article, “Bodhgaya and Gaya: Buddhist Responses to the Hindu Challenges in Early India,” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 22(1), pp. 155-185.

See show notes at http://teachingbuddhism.net/abishek-amar/.

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