Month: August 2017

Barbara Reed: The Transformation of Buddhist Education in Taiwan

Since the 1990s, new and transformed Buddhist educational institutions have developed in Taiwan to meet the needs of a modern, globalized society. Dr. Barbara Reed devoted her Fulbright year in Taiwan to teaching and researching how these new colleges and universities develop different approaches to integrating Buddhist values into modern society. Barbara E. Reed is Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. This semester she is a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts in Jinshan District. She is teaching a graduate course on “Comparative Scriptures” and researching Buddhist colleges and universities in Taiwan.  

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Kevin Buckelew: “What is the Buddha?”

“What is the Buddha?”: Authority, Encounter Dialogue, and Ritual Efficacy in the Song-dynasty Chan Tradition Song-dynasty Chan discourse records represent Chan masters as “living buddhas.” But how did this idea attain efficacy in dialogue with an audience during the routine ritual of “ascending the hall”? Kevin Buckelew is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, where he is writing a dissertation on Chinese Chan Buddhism in the Song dynasty. For 2016-17 he is a visiting researcher at the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica.  

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Hannah Fazio: Taiwan’s Marriage Equality Movement: Lessons Learned and Shared

Hannah Fazio, who studied International Relations at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, wanted to study social movements. She came to Taiwan to learn about Taiwan’s push to legalize same-sex marriage and ended up in the right place at the right time! This video features her reflections on her research and personal experiences as she watched a social movement unfold and develop before her eyes.  

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Integrating Global Curricula: Reflections on Taiwan

    I recently discovered that I indeed had something in common with the esteemed Paul Krugman, the 2008 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Not surprisingly, it has to do with Taiwan. My recent visit back to the island brought back to mind many of the reasons why my family and I grappled with leaving in the first place, yet they also put a smile on my face and cemented the adoring image we have always had whenever the thoughts of Formosa, The Beautiful Island, came up. First, a little background: We came to Taiwan just after marrying in order to conduct research and collect primary data for my dissertation on international negotiation. It was a similar story that some may recall from the old TV show Gilligan’s Island about a disjointed group that planned on a spending a few fun hours somewhere in the tropics. My brief, research-oriented “semester,” surprisingly and unsurprisingly, turned into nearly four engaging years getting to know people, teaching, exploring the curious minds of my students, and sharing some Chicago culture with the freedom seeking Confucians. Many great once-in-a-lifetime experiences would ensure that I could only dream about: like seeking true meaning when

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Wild, Tame, and In-Between: Traditional Agricultural Knowledge of Taiwan Indigenous People

Introduction and Background      Many of us would agree that Senator J. William Fulbright’s vision of “a world with a little more knowledge and a little less conflict” will feature healthy ecosystems, appreciation of cultural diversity, and of course, delicious food. However, the world has been moving in the wrong direction over the past century. Today, 75% of the world’s plant food is made up of only 12 species. As of 2010, three (rice, maize, and wheat) provided nearly 60 percent of the calories and proteins that humans derive from plants (F.A.O 2010, 1999) and this trend continues (Khoury et al. 2014). This dramatic impact on the world’s agro-biodiversity is accompanied by accelerating environmental degradation, the loss of diverse cultural understandings and appreciation of food, and an increasingly bland globalized menu – one that isn’t even very healthy.      Luckily, diverse culture and food have an ancient and fascinating history in Taiwan. Hunting and fishing practices stretch back to Paleolithic times, and the earliest farming of rice and millet date to Neolithic pioneers who likely migrated to Taiwan from across the Taiwan Strait around 6,000 years ago (Chang and Goodenough 1996, Li 2013, Tsang 2005). Growing from these

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