The Buddhism and Religions of Asia curriculum includes diachronic and synchronic analysis of the spread of Buddhism in Asia and beyond, from India, Sri Lanka, Central Asia, Tibet, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the West. Concurrently, the curriculum fosters the study of Buddhism’s interaction with other Asian religious traditions, including Taoism, Shinto, Bon, Hinduism, and Confucianism in their different historical and cultural contexts. The use of various methodological tools lead to the training of specialists with outstanding historical, philosophical, anthropological, and archaeological-artistic skills in the study of Asian religions.

The various lines of research include the study of the transmission of philosophical texts, the emergence of religious schools and heterodoxies, the interaction between religion and society, the analysis of myths, rituals and symbols in artistic expressions and material culture, and contemplative practices throughout the Buddhist world, both in the past and in the contemporary world.

Furthermore, we look for proposals that study Buddhism’s claims that it may possess unique insights to address urgent global challenges, including the environmental crisis, thanks to its doctrines regarding interconnectedness and the causes and effects of things. Lines of research include Buddhist responses to climate change, resilience, agricultural crises, and the decline of Buddhist communities in Central Asia, eschatology and extreme weather in East Asia, rights of nature, climate and Buddhist societies in a historical perspective, environmental peacebuilding, posthumanism/transhumanism, and Buddhist responses to artificial intelligence.

Faculty of the Area

Giacomella Orofino (coordinator) – Antonio Rigopoulos – Francesca Tarocco