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Prospectus

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Thematic Seminar: Religions ‘On the Move’: the Case of Global Buddhism

Course
2019-2020

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
The number of participants is limited to 24.

Description

There is something truly international about Buddhism. It may in fact be one of the few common denominators within that notoriously vague and somewhat orientalist notion “Asia”, which is and always has been of tremendous importance and impact on the global arena. Buddhism also has spread beyond Asia and, mainly through popular culture (Richard Gere), entered our homes (Buddha statues) and even the privacy of our very minds (mindfulness).

This course addresses the question what happens when a ‘religion’, such as Buddhism, ‘spreads’ and becomes an international force; how does it spread and what are the underlying culture dynamics (also in terms of social, economic and political forces); and what local responses are provoked? Are transferred religions faithfully replicated or are they reinvented according to the logic of the receiving cultures, and if the latter, can we still consider them the same religion? In this case study of Global Buddhism we explore the latter avenue, by way of working hypothesis, and try to relate this to the theoretical framings needed for other case studies.

While we shall strive to find focus in our seminar by asking what we can learn from the case of ‘Global Buddhism’, this course is open to inquiry and essays on all pertinent case studies: from Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity, Islam, Wicca, the practice of (pregnancy) yoga, to the global aspirations of militant Mujahidin.
Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The Thematic Seminars for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the multidisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral and written presentation skills:

1. To explain clear and substantiated research results.
2. To provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course:

  • in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;

  • in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;

  • using up-to-date presentation techniques;

  • using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;

  • aimed at a specific audience.
    3. To actively participate in a discussion

Collaboration skills:

1. To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position.
2. To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. To collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques.
2. To analyse and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability.
3. To formulate on this basis a sound research question.
4. To design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved.
5. To formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week. This includes supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending seminars (2 hours per week x 12): 24 hours

  • Preparing for and giving a presentation: 10 hours

  • Readings & weekly summaries: 70 hours

    Readings partly used for presentation/paper.

  • Additional readings at higher level: 76 hours

  • Researching and writing the final research essay: 100 hours

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Assignments and in-class participation 20%
Paper pitch 10%
Oral presentation 20%
Final Research Essay (+/- 5,000 words, excluding tables and bibliography) 50%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.

Resit

Students who score an overall insufficient grade for the course, are allowed resubmit a reworked version of the Final Essay. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the Final Research Essay and subsequent feedback.
In case of resubmission of the Final Research Essay the final grade for the Essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.

Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, but still within 5 working days of that deadline, will receive a grade and feedback on their essay. This will be considered a first submission of the final essay, however, the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their final essay on or before the original deadline, and also fail to hand in their essay within 5 working days of that deadline, get 10 working days, counting from the original deadline, to hand in the first version of their final essay. However, this first version counts as a resubmitted essay with consequential lowering of the grade, and there will be no option of handing in a reworked version based on feedback from the lecturer.

Retaking a passing grade

Retaking a passing grade is not possible for this course.
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2019 – 2020.

Exam review 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 have to be organised.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used for the seminars. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

The syllabus with assigned readings will be published on Blackboard one week in advance of the first session.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, or;

  • W.C. Booth et al., The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 2 December:

1) On 2 December you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
2) Indicate there which are your 5 preferred Thematic Seminars, in order of preference.
3) Based on preferences indicated by 15 December the course Coordinator will assign you to one specific Elective by 15 January.
4) Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
5) All students are required to enrol for their group in Blackboard to access all course information.

Students cannot register in uSis for the Thematic Seminar courses, or be allowed into a Thematic Seminar course in any other way.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. H.W.A. Blezer

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is Friday 5 June 2020.