Organized Panel Session
Twenty-five years ago, Charles Hallisey published “Roads Taken and Not Taken in the Study of Theravada Buddhism,” and pressed the field to attend more rigorously to how meaning is produced in local contexts. This influential essay continues to shape the field and inspire scholars to, as Hallisey wrote, “develop more nuanced accounts” and avoid the distortions found in earlier studies of Theravada Buddhism. In honor of this essay’s quarter-century anniversary, four junior scholars of religion in South and Southeast Asia ask: How has the field benefited from Hallisey’s call for attention to how meaning is produced locally? What challenges do we continue to face? What new directions are we taking and why?
The four panelists will draw on their current research to consider one particular key theme or topic from Hallisey’s article, namely: “intercultural mimesis,” the prominence of textual analysis in Theravada Studies, Orientalism, and the importance of vernacular Buddhist literature. Charles Hallisey will follow with a response to the presentations and his reflections on the current state of the field and possible future directions. We will then provide ample time for discussion with the audience.