Buddhist Studies Scholarships

The 60th Dhammachai Education Foundation Scholarships in Buddhist Studies for 2017 were presented by Phramaha Somkit Howhan, Abbot of the Dunedin Meditation Centre. The two scholarships (one for $2500, and one for $1500) are awarded annually to students in Buddhist Studies who gain the best marks on RELS102. The scholarships were awarded to Richell Hancock and Woramat Malasart. Prizes were also awarded for outstanding performance on other papers in Buddhist Studies. The recipients were Sandra Mathew, Asia Brownlie, Brendon Hooper, William Sharp and Abigail Petrie.

National Library of Australia Fellowship

Dr Linda Zampol D'Ortia, who received her PhD this year, has been awarded a fellowship at the National Library of Australia. Linda will make use of the library's holdings, particularly the Braga collection of materials on the Portuguese in East Asia to examine perceptions of missionary failure in the early modern Jesuit enterprise in Japan (1549-1639). Linda will spend three months in Canberra, in the distinguished company of the other 2018 fellows.

2018 papers and new MA by coursework

Our undergraduate papers for 2018 are now confirmed. The full list is available here. We are also pleased to announce that from 2018 we are introducing a new pathway within the Master of Arts, a 180-point coursework option. Further details about the MA and the courses on offer in 2018 are on our postgraduate page.

Dr Sara RahmaniUnderstanding Unbelief

Dr Sara Rahmani, has been awarded a £59,535 research grant by the University of Kent's Understanding Unbelief project to undertake postdoctoral research at Coventry University, UK.

Her proposed research will carry out a cross-cultural investigation of the nature of unbelief among practitioners of Mindfulness Meditation to identify whether it functions as an equivalent of religion for unbelievers.

Sara's postdoctoral research builds on her recently completed PhD thesis, "Drifting Through Samsara: Tacit conversion and disengagement in Goenka’s Vipassana movement in New Zealand," which is included on the Division of Humanities' list of exceptional theses.

Goenka's Vipassana movement is famous for its consistent refusal to identify its practice as religious, even though the teachings and practices are unequivocally derived from Buddhism. Sara’s PhD explores how increased socialisation into this movement and adoption of its language paradoxically creates non-religious identities. Her ethnographic research further examined the influence of biographical, institutional, and sociocultural structures that support the Vipassana practitioners’ non-religious positions.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on UnsplashSummer School Papers

We will again be offering a paper in the pre-Christmas Summer School this year, RELS 220/320 Representing Islam.

The paper focuses on the ways in which Islam has been represented in the West, locating them within a longer historical tradition with the goal of understanding the implications of these discourses for contemporary relationships between Muslims and others. If you're keen to learn more about the issue, or to get ahead with your degree by taking an additional paper in early summer of 2017 do check out the links below. The paper will be taught by Keziah Wallis both on campus, and by distance, and is offered at 200- and 300-level. To add the paper to your programme, ask for a change of course form from the University Information Centre.

2017 Pre Christmas Summer School
Representing Islam

Last year's Pre-Christmas Summer School paper (RELS 230/330 ST: Modern Judaism) will be offered in the 2018 Summer School.

Church on HydeReligion on Facebook

The Religion programme now has a Facebook page. Follow the page to get more regular updates and news about Religion events at Otago.

News archive

News items from previous years are available in the news archive.

University of Otago Religious Studies Programme