Theravada Buddhism in Colonial Contexts: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Theravada Buddhism in Colonial Contexts

1st Edition

Edited by Thomas Borchert


238 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-04-05
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Over the course of the nineteenth century, most of the Theravada world of Southeast Asia came under the colonial domination of European powers. While this has long been seen as a central event in the development of modern forms of Theravada Buddhism, most discussions have focused on specific Buddhist communities or nations, and particularly their resistance to colonialism.

The chapters in this book examine the many different colonial contexts and regimes that Theravada Buddhists experienced, not just those of European powers such as the British, French, but also the internal colonialism of China and Thailand. They show that while many Buddhists resisted colonialism, other Buddhists shared agendas with colonial powers, such as for the reform of the monastic community. They also show that in some places, such as Singapore and Malaysia, colonialism enabled the creation of Theravada Buddhist communities. The book demonstrates the importance of thinking about colonialism both locally and regionally.

Providing a new understanding of the breadth of experiences of Theravada and colonialism across Asia., this book will be of interest to scholars in the field of Buddhist Studies, Asian History, Comparative World History, Southeast Asian Studies and Religious Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Thomas Borchert

Part I: Colony/Nation

2. To be Burmese is to be Buddhist: Formations of Buddhist Modernity in Colonial Burma, Juliane Schober

3. Interactions between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism in Colonial Singapore, Wenxue Zhang

4. A Tale of Two Colonialisms: K. Sri Dhammananda and the Making of a Missionary Monk, Jeffrey Samuels

Part II: Centralization in Internal Colonies

5. Lanna Buddhism and Bangkok Centralization in Late Nineteenth to Early Twentieth Century, Ratanaporn Sethakul

6. Shifts in Buddhist Authority in Sipsongpanna under Chinese Colonialism, Thomas Borchert

Part III: Managing and Governing Theravada Buddhists

7. ‘Colonial Governmentality’: Legal and Administrative Technologies of the Governance of Sri Pada Temple in Sri Lanka, Premakumara de Silva

8. The Thathanabaing Project: Monastic Hierarchies and Colonialism in Burma, Alexey Kirichenko

9. The Institut bouddhique in Laos: Ambivalent Dynamics of a Colonial Project, Gregory Kourilsky

Part IV: Students of the Empire

10. Beni Madhab Barua and the Study of Buddhism in Calcutta c 1918 to 1948, Gitanjali Surendran

11. Buddhist Republicanism in Cambodia: a Colonialist Legacy, Ian Harris

About the Editor

Thomas Borchert is an Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont. His research is focused on religion and politics in Theravada Buddhist communities in Thailand, Southwest China and Singapore. He is the author of Educating Monks: Minority Buddhism on China’s Southwest Border (2017).

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism is a comprehensive study of the Buddhist tradition. The series explores this complex and extensive tradition from a variety of perspectives, using a range of different methodologies. The series is diverse in its focus, including historical, philological, cultural, and sociological investigations into the manifold features and expressions of Buddhism worldwide. It also presents works of constructive and reflective analysis, including the role of Buddhist thought and scholarship in a contemporary, critical context and in the light of current social issues. The series is expansive and imaginative in scope, spanning more than two and a half millennia of Buddhist history. It is receptive to all research works that are of significance and interest to the broader field of Buddhist Studies.

Some of the titles in the series are published in association with the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, which conducts and promotes rigorous teaching and research into all forms of the Buddhist tradition.

Editorial Advisory Board:
James A. Benn, McMaster University, Canada

Jinhua Chen, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Rupert Gethin, University of Bristol, UK

Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland, UK

Sallie King, James Madison University, USA

Anne Klein, Rice University, USA

Lori Meeks, University of Southern California, USA;

Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

John Powers, Australian National University, Australia;

Juliane Schober, Arizona State University, USA

Vesna A. Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Michael Zimmermann, University of Hamburg, Germany

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Buddhism / Theravada
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies