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Buddhism and Orientalism


Admission requirements

Some background knowledge of Buddhism and/or Asia. If you are interested in taking this course but you are not sure you meet the above mentioned requirement, please contact the lecturer.


Among the religions of Asia, Buddhism has emerged as a source of fascination for Westerners. Although the West’s early encounter with Buddhism was marked by suspicion, the number of Westerners attracted to it became sufficiently large to result in the actual transplantation and acceptance of Buddhism in North America and Europe. These events occurred amid the West’s “Orientalist” attitudes toward Asia—a condescension at first, but later an exoticizing of the East. These interactions helped trigger a transformation of Buddhism worldwide in the modern period. This course examines the interchange of ideas between Asia and the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the redefinition of Buddhism that arose as a result.

Course objectives

  • To become familiar with general themes in Buddhism

  • To gain a knowledge of the historical encounter between the West and Buddhism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Attendance is mandatory.

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average of the following:

Partial Assessment Weighing
In-class informed participation 15%
Weekly postings of reactions to readings 25%
Final paper 60%

In order to pass the course, students need a passing mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher) for the course as a whole.


Only the final paper may be resubmitted.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

To be announced


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in the context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), e.g. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in the context of Contract teaching (including taking examinations), e.g. about costs, registration and conditions.

Exchange students having questions regarding registration, may contact the Humanities International Office.