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Call Text:

The Buddhism in the West Unit is seeking to fill two 90-minute sessions and strongly encourages proposals for fully developed panels, roundtable discussions, or other formats focused on a single theme, question, or (group of) recent publication(s). Several scholars have offered to coordinate with others to develop possible topics, as indicated below. If interested in one of those topics, please contact the convener(s). Additional suggestions follow.

Co-sponsored with the Space, Place, and Religion Unit:
Buddhist Tourism outside of Asia: Building on Brooke Schedneck’s and Courtney Bruntz’s Buddhist Tourism in Asia, this panel’s papers could link to the volume’s themes of secularism and the sacred, tourist imaginaries and place-making, and commodification in Asia, compared with Buddhist tourist sites outside of Asia. Other possible topics might include how Buddhist tourist sites are created in the West, the ways Buddhist tourist sites adapt to locations outside Asia, and financial and economic models of Buddhist tourism in diasporic communities.
(Convener: Brooke Schedneck, schedneckb@rhodes.edu.)


A roundtable discussion on one or more recent publications in the field reflecting perspectives from under-studied communities or issues, such as Chenxing Han’s Be the Refuge, Lama Rod Owen’s Love and Rage, Cheryl A. Giles’ and Pamela Ayo Yetunde’s Black and Buddhist, Kevin Manders and Elizabeth Marston’s Transcending, or other new books. (Conveners: Sharon Suh, suhs@seattleu.edu, and Adeana McNicholl, adeana.mcnicholl@vanderbilt.edu.)


Buddhism in the West as a field. In 2008 Paul David Numrich suggested that the study of Buddhism in North America was a “proto-field.” How far have we come since that time? Is Buddhism in the West a field? What does it mean to be a “field of study”? What methodological and theoretical assumptions define or shape this field? To what future research or understudied topics should scholars direct our attention? What are we not seeing? How do the structures of academic guilds (such as the AAR) shape and influence the field? Where have been and where are we headed? (Convener: Elizabeth Guthrie, ekguthrie@uwaterloo.ca.)


Buddhism in the West and the covid-19 pandemic. How has the pandemic, sheltering in place, social distancing, etc., changed how Buddhists in the West “do” Buddhism? (Convener: Elizabeth Guthrie, ekguthrie@uwaterloo.ca.)


Buddhism and socio-economic class.

Buddhism, politics, and the political.

Other panels or roundtable discussions on a single topic.

The Unit encourages participation by graduate students. We also welcome co-sponsorships with other units.

Mission Statement:

This Unit seeks to:

• Provide a venue for new studies on Buddhism in non-Asian locales
• Facilitate communication and exchange between scholars working on Buddhism outside of Asia
• Offer a forum within which to collectively clarify the intellectual and methodological underpinnings of research on Buddhism in the West, and consider new possibilities in methods and approaches

Method of Submission:



Wakoh Shannon Hickey, wakohshannon@icloud.com

Scott Mitchell, scott@shin-ibs.edu


Steering Committee:

Kim Lam, kim.lam@deakin.edu.au

Adeana McNicholl, adeana.mcnicholl@vanderbilt.edu

Caroline Starkey, c.starkey@leeds.ac.uk

Sharon A. Suh, suhs@seattleu.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2023