Dynamic Encounters between Buddhism and the West


University of Cambridge Postgraduate Online Conference

28-29 June 2021

Please send abstract (500 words) and CV to: dynamicencounters2021@gmail.com by 9 May 2021.

Call for Papers

This conference seeks to explore historical and contemporary dialogues between Buddhism and the West, while also contemplating ways of opening up new conversations. With an appreciation of the value of interdisciplinarity, we aim to bring together scholars from diverse fields to both share and enhance their unique perspectives. In today’s era of globalisation, dialogue between different cultures is a daily occurrence. The last century in particular has produced a dynamic exchange of ideas between Buddhism and the West. Important exchanges have occurred in myriad areas of intellectual life, ranging from spiritual endeavours to the pursuit of a scientific understanding of the mind. In Western universities, Buddhist Studies is a growing field, and thus there is a continuous interaction of scholars. In addition, outside of academia, interest in Buddhism as a religion and practice has been steadily growing, along with the number of Buddhist institutions.

In the context of globalisation, the encounter between Buddhism and the West is generally understood as a modern phenomenon. However, throughout history, from distant antiquity to recent past, the dialogue between Buddhism and the West has been pervasive and dynamic. This conference intends to uncover some of these exchanges and suggest possibilities for future dialogues.

Possible topics for papers can include, but are not limited to:

  • views of Western intellectuals on Buddhism and of Buddhist intellectuals on the West over the course of history;
  • similarities and differences between modern approaches to Buddhism and those of the past;
  • mutual influence in philosophy;
  • artistic expressions: genres, techniques and topics;
  • Christianity and Buddhism;
  • dynamic encounters in films;
  • interculturality in literature;
  • issues of comparative jurisprudence between Buddhist legal codes and Western doctrines.

This conference is aimed at postgraduate students. Since Buddhism is an umbrella term that picks out and is associated with a plurality of religious beliefs, politics, philosophical positions, arguments, practices, and artistic works, this conference is very broad in scope, with possible contributions ranging from philosophy, film studies to law, this leaves the conference open to a wide range of students to make a contribution from their own research field.

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