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    UPR 299 - CNRS
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Accueil > Séminaires et enseignements > Séminaire "Anthropologie comparée du bouddhisme"

"Comparative anthropology of Buddhism", 2022-2023

seminar organised by Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière (Centre Asie du Sud-Est, EHESS/CNRS) and Nicolas Sihlé (CNRS-CEH)


This year, the "Comparative anthropology of Buddhism" seminar (primarily in French) ( takes the form of a seminar-workshop. After a first session devoted to a general introduction, it will address session after session major categories of Buddhist collective rituals, which correspond to the last chapters of a book-length synthesis on this topic that should be completed this year.

The angle of approach is a comparative study of the rituals of Buddhist societies based on original or already published ethnographies. The comparison, a key dimension of the analysis, is articulated around two poles, Theravāda Buddhism (especially Burmese) and Mahāyāna / Tantric Buddhism (especially Tibetan). Studying rituals in the Buddhist world from a comparative anthropological perspective raises questions of typology, analysis of ritual configurations and position in a ritual field. This also calls for an examination of the both specific characteristics of regional/national traditions and shared features of Buddhist traditions in terms of principles of efficiency, grounding in specific socio-religious contexts, dominant ritual forms, etc. The aim each time is also to address relevant current debates on the theory of ritual.

In practical terms, the texts of the different chapters will be circulated a week in advance to all those who have registered to take part in the seminar-workshop (or to attend a specific session). The seminar is open to all interested colleagues and students. The programme is as follows :

Friday 21 October 2022 : introduction (general reflections, terminology, key points)
Friday 2 December 2022 : pilgrimage
Friday 6 January 2023 : management of death
Friday 3 February 2023 : exorcism
Friday 7 April 2023 : cults of deities and spirits
Friday 2 June 2023 : reproduction and renewal of the socio-cosmic order
Additional sessions may be scheduled if students or colleagues wish to present work on a related topic.

The seminar will be held in the EHESS building on the Campus Condorcet (metro line 12, station "Front Populaire", or RER B station "La Plaine – Stade de France"), in room A327, from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

Please inform the lecturers now if you wish to be included on the mailing list for this year (or for a specific session). The link for registering for seminars is

For any questions, please contact Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière ( and Nicolas Sihlé (