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Accueil > Séminaires et enseignements > Séminaire "Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme" > Séminaire "Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme 2016-2020

"Comparative anthropology of Buddhism" seminar, 2019-20


Buddhist Ritualities

Given by B. Brac de la Perrière (CASE-EHESS-CNRS) and N. Sihlé (CNRS-CEH).

The seminar operates on the principle of a monthly session on a Friday each month, from 9.30am to 12.30pm, and is held at EHESS, 54 boulevard Raspail, Paris, 6th arrondissement. It is compulsory for students wishing to validate the Master’s course "Asian Studies - History and Social Sciences" and is open to students from any other course.

Following on from the work undertaken last year, the objective consists in extensively comparing the collective rituals in Buddhist societies based on original or already published ethnographies. The comparison will revolve around two poles, Theravāda Buddhism (especially Burmese) on the one hand, and Mahāyāna (especially Tibetan) Buddhism on the other. From a comparative anthropological perspective, taking an interest in rituals in the Buddhist world raises questions regarding typology, analysing ritual configurations and place in a ritual field, or regarding the characteristics (specific to regional / national or more shared traditions) of Buddhist ritualities : principles of effectiveness, forms of socio-religious anchoring, privileged ritual forms, etc. More broadly speaking, it will be a question each time of relaunching existing debates on the theory of ritual. A key dimension of the analysis will be the systematic engagement in a comparative approach : the different sessions, mainly devoted to the study of the major categories of collective Buddhist rituals, will systematically oppose practices, emic and etic categories and interpretations received in the fields of Theravāda and Mahāyāna.
Sessions (room number in brackets :)
18 October (651) : Synopsis and introduction

29 November (737) : Workshop ’Relocating Mainland Southeast Asia in Spirit Possession Studies

6 December (751) : Exorcisms and apotropaic rituels

31 January (751) : Practices to free animals

7 February (751) : Rituals of reading canonic texts

6 March (751) : Pilgrimage

3 April (751) : Deity/spirit worshipping rituals

15 May (751) : Presentation of students’ work

5 June (751) : Observances : collective practices for laypersons

A choice of reading (some of which is compulsory for students enrolled on the course) can be found in the following Dropbox file (subfolder "2019-20_seminaire_Ritualites3") :

As a precautionary measure, we also encourage you to check the room number before each class :

Download programme for 2019-20 (in French)