India and Tibet

Research projects of the School of Asian Studies.

Buddhism and Social Justice: Doctrine, Ideology and Discrimination in Tension

Nature: NWO Vici
Project leader: Jonathan Silk

See full project description here

Asiascape – Contemporary East Asia Media Centre

Duration: 3 years
Nature: NWO (Internationalization) and IIAS and Toshiba International Foundation
Project members: Chris Goto-Jones, Ivo Smits, Kasia Cwiertka (Leiden); Thomas Lamarre (McGill); Susan Napier (Tufts); Lockyer (SOAS); Williams (Leeds); Takayuki (Keio)

 This project aims to create a research hub for the study of East Asian technoculture, particularly with a focus on politics and philosophy.  It is explicitly engaged in building an international network to organise this new field and to place Leiden at its hub.

Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC)

Duration: 3 years initially (2006-2008) - extended till at least end 2009
Nature: LU Board of Directors through Faculty of Humanities
Project leader: Goto-Jones ( Leiden), A. Schneider (Leiden)

Abstract: The aim of MEARC is to become the European hub of genuinely disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research on East Asia, in order to build bridges between the so-called ‘Area Studies’ and conventional disciplines such as Politics, History and Philosophy. It will achieve this through (support of) lectures, workshops, conferences, and publication of peer-reviewed books and articles and by the provision of research grants.

The Three Pillars of Bon’: Doctrine, ‘Location’ & Founder—Historiographical Strategies and their Contexts in Bon Religious Historical Literature.

Duration: January 2005 ~ January 2010
Nature: NWO Vidi
Project leader: Henk Blezer

Abstract: The aim of the proposed project is to understand the process of formation of Bon religious identity in Tibet at the turn of the first millennium AD. The process is defined by the presence in the area of rather successfully competing Buddhist sects, at a time when these started to arise and Tibetan Buddhism was undergoing a renaissance. The main working hypotheses are that Bon religion contrary to its claims to high antiquity, traced its sectarian contours no earlier than the 10th–11th c. AD and that imprints of that crucial formative period in Tibetan religious history are visible in its historical narratives. Based on historical philological methods, tools are developed for analysing religious historical narratives, both engaging history of ideas and submitting it to systematic reflection.

Through examination of the three main ‘pillars’ of Bon identity—doctrine (earlier project), ‘location’ of origin, and founder—in the light of the lacunal and paradoxical nature of Bon history, this project intends to contribute toward a deeper analytical understanding of the process of construction of Bon religious historical identity. Investigated are: the creation of the myth of the Zhang zhung Empire of the Bon po-s (the Zhang zhung royal myth and the ‘location’ of Zhang zhung culture) and the development of the myth of the founder of Bon, Ston pa gShen rab(s) mi bo. The project will result in a series of three books, each covering one pillar of Bon (one pertains to an earlier project) and an edited volume based on papers at an international workshop, which will have substantial input from the disciplines covered by the visiting fellows. The project will make a significant contribution toward putting Bon and Bon Zhang zhung indelibly on the academic map and future research agendas and toward opening the topic to a wider audience.

Last Modified: 09-12-2015