The Body in Asian Religions

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Body in Asian Religions

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Asian Studies, Religion

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    36 points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    An examination of some of the ways in which body, gender and sexuality are constructed and practiced in cultures dominated by Hindu and Buddhist ideals.

    The course will examine the confluence of Asian religious and academic concerns with the body though consideration of technologies of the body (such as asceticism, yoga, semen retention, dismemberment and remembering of the body in ritual), idealized representations of the body (as heroic or divine), the role of the body as both vehicle for and hinderance to spiritual progress, and the religious significance of different bodies (male, female, 'other'). The course will also critically examine the way representations of Asian religions in the West, both within and beyond the academy, have been dominated by a fascination with bodily practices such as sati, yoga and meditation.

    Teaching Arrangements
    Campus: Weekly lectures

    Distance: On-line discussion

    Course Structure
    The course is divided into six modules:
    - Hindu bodies
    - The body as instrument
    - Regulated bodies
    - Buddhist bodies
    - Bodhisattva bodies
    - 'Other' bodies

    - Essay outline - 5%
    - Essay (2000 words) - 35%
    - Exam (three hours) - 60%

    Learning Outcomes
    Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to demonstrate:
    - A sound factual knowledge of the treatment of issues relating to gender in Hinduism and Buddhism
    - An awareness of both diversity and uniformity in religious teachings and practices
    - An understanding of the social causes and consequences of the construction of gender and sexuality in religious thought

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.