This workshop on “Buddhist Tourism in Asia: Sacred Spaces within Global Networks” is organized by Courtney Bruntz (Oregon State University and Brooke Schedneck, Chiangmai University. It will be held April 8-10, 2016 at Oregon State University. May 1st, 2015, is the deadline for submission of manuscripts.
Across Asia, Buddhists, government organizations, business corporations, and individuals participate in re-imaginings of Buddhism by patronizing sacred mountains, temples, relics, and Buddhist teachers. Recent economic developments in India, China, and Thailand have spearheaded Buddhist tourism that re-conceptualizes the meanings and values of sites associated with Buddhism. Such realities require investigations into how Buddhism is entangled within various economic realms. This project brings together Buddhist scholars across Asia, to generate a comparative investigation of Buddhist spaces, identities, and practices as dynamic entities – entities that shift significance within various flows and networks of travelers. Scholars will pointedly analyze Buddhist-associated sacred sites that attract domestic, regional, and international visitors. The workshop organizers are interested in the ways that Buddhist sites are influenced by travel, and the individuals and organizations involved in managing Buddhist locations.
The workshop organizers are concerned with not only mapping the networks and circuits of Buddhist travel but also in determining the relationship between Buddhism and tourism. They will investigate the ways Buddhist worlds are evoked for targeted audiences, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist. Advertising for Buddhist tourism, sometimes but not always labeled as pilgrimage, promotes markers of belonging, so that travelers are not going to a particular nation-state but to a Buddhist world. This workshop will use the idea of the nation-state but more important will be the ideas of networks and imaginaries.
Following this workshop, all participants, will submit a chapter for publication in an edited volume on Buddhist tourism. The workshop will primarily draw on theories and methods of the disciplines of anthropology and religious studies but also tourism studies and cultural geography.
In this call for papers the organizers are especially interested in participants with expertise in Korea and Japan, but scholars conducting research on Buddhism and tourism in all areas of Asia are welcome. Please submit an abstract (300 words) to Courtney Bruntz (courtney.bruntzATgmail.com) or Brooke Schedneck (brookeATiseaa.org) by May 1st. Selected participants will be notified within two weeks to discuss further logistics of paper submission and funding possibilities. The workshop will be capped at 15 participants.