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Chủ nhật, 08 Tháng 11 2015 16:28

Women in Vietnam Practicing Buddhism in the Face of Power

Associate Professor Alexander Soucy

Saint Mary’s University, Halifax

Time: 9h00 Monday, 9 Nov. 2015

Location: Seminar room No. 201, Department of Anthropology, second floor, building I at USSH campus at 336 Ngyen Trai, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi

Buddhist spaces in Vietnam have been, for the most part, thoroughly feminized. At most temples there are few men who are involved, and those that are involved, particularly monks, are often seen as being effeminate. Part of the reason for this is the construction of gender in Vietnam, which has viewed Buddhism, and religion more generally, as antithetic to a modern, rational and masculine identity. Buddhism, particularly during the period in which Communist ideology held the most sway, has been disparaged as backwards superstition. Nonetheless, many women continued Buddhist practice and some men still joined the sangha, despite the prominent anti-religious discourse emanating from the state and its instruments: the legal system and the media. This paper answers the question of why, despite the pervasive marginalising discourse, many women, and a few men, still engaged in Buddhist practice. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s work, this paper will examine how the construction of Buddhism, as a distinct field with its own rules and symbolic capital, has allowed for Buddhists to persevere in their practice.

Alexander Soucy graduated from the Australian National University with a PhD in Anthropology in 2000. He is currently an associate professor at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, and the chair of the Religious Studies Department. He is the author of The Buddha Side: Gender, Power, and Buddhist Practice in Vietnam (2012) and several articles on Vietnamese Buddhism, gender and globalisation. He also co-edited Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada (2010) and Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhisms in Canada (2014) and has published several essays on Buddhism in Canada, particularly relating to Vietnamese Buddhism.


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    Phòng 308-314 nhà A, Trường Đại học Khoa học Xã hội và Nhân văn, Đại học Quốc gia Hà Nội
    336 Nguyễn Trãi, Thanh Xuân, Hà Nội
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