Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ian Harris: a Buddhist scholar on Cambodia

2011-12 Visiting Professor

Ian Harris will be the TLKY Distinguished Visiting Professor in Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, in 2011-12. He will teach undergraduate courses at UTSC, lead an undergraduate/graduate workshop at UTSG, give two public talks and organize a conference during his stay in Toronto. Professor Harris lives in a rural area near the border between England and Scotland. He is a keen gardener and hill walker. Initially a student of Buddhist philosophy, his current academic interests focus on the modern and contemporary history of Cambodia, Buddhism and politics in Southeast Asia, Buddhist environmentalism, and landscape aesthetics. His most recent books are Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice (2005), Buddhism Under Pol Pot (2007), and an edited volume entitled Buddhism, Power and Politics in Southeast Asia (2007). A new work, Buddhism in a Dark Age: Cambodian Monks under the Khmer Rouge, will appear in early 2012. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Cumbria and has held previous visiting positions at the University of Oxford, the University of British Columbia, the National University of Singapore, and the Documentary Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. He is currently engaged in research on Buddhism and political conflict in Cambodia, 1940-75.

Buddhism Under Pol Pot

A lecture by Ian Harris

This illustrated talk will examine the increasingly adverse conditions in which the Buddhist monastic order was forced to operate as Cambodia unravelled through the 1970s. Specific matters covered include regional variations in the Khmer Rouge treatment of religion, analysis of the number of monks who perished, and in what circumstances, and the role of monastic survivors in the re-establishment of Cambodian Buddhism following the fall of Pol Pot. The manner in which Buddhism may have been a factor in the development of Cambodia’s uniquely violent communist movement will also be considered.

Date: November 4, 2011, 7:30 pm

Location: UTSC (exact location TBA)

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