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Reading: Imaging Japanese Religion in the Classroom: Mandala, Manga, Pizza, and Gardens

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Teaching about Asia

Imaging Japanese Religion in the Classroom: Mandala, Manga, Pizza, and Gardens

Author:

Mark Mac Williams

St. Lawrence University
About Mark Mac
Mark MacWilliams is a professor of Religious Studies at St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, where he teaches East Asian religions. His current areas of research are pilgrimage and religion and visual culture. His most recent publication is an edited volume, Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations of Manga and Anime (M.E. Sharpe, 2008).
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Abstract

How does my research influence my pedagogy? As a teacher of Japanese religions at a small liberal arts college, I realized long ago that I wasn’t teaching in grad school. Few of my students can speak or read Japanese or have ever traveled to Japan. So, chances are I’m not going to be teaching a small seminar on pre-modern Buddhist pilgrimage focusing on original texts in the classical vernacular. Yet, in teaching undergraduates, I keep Shunryu Suzuki’s comment in mind: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” The trick is how to trigger those possibilities. How do I open the door to a subject that is totally new and perhaps even strange? What do I find so fascinating in my own research that will also fascinate my students?
DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.226
How to Cite: Williams, M.M., (2009). Imaging Japanese Religion in the Classroom: Mandala, Manga, Pizza, and Gardens. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts. 16(2), pp.86–103. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.226
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Published on 01 Apr 2009.
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