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East Asian Philosophies and Religions: A Visual and Literary Introduction


July 24 – 28, 2017
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Monday-Thursday)
8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m (Friday)

The University of Washington in Seattle


East Asian Philosophies and Religions: A Visual and Literary Introduction explored the key philosophical and religious traditions that underlie East Asian belief systems, historically as well as in the present. Our course of study focused on the emergence of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto within their original contexts, but also considered how these traditions evolved as they moved across space and time. We examined art and literature to familiarize ourselves with each tradition’s associated doctrines, objects and places of worship, and practices. As we analyzed these sources, we paid special attention to the impacts of cultural transmission, both on the traditions themselves and East Asian cultures they influenced.

By examining artworks and reading primary and secondary documents, we also identified resources for inclusion in the classroom.  No prior knowledge of the subject matter was required.

Topics covered included:

  • Confucius and The Analects
  • Laozi and Daoism
  • Legalism and Qinshihuangdi’s Army
  • Emergence of Buddhism
  • Buddhism along the Silk Road
  • Transmission of Buddhism into Korea
  • Shinto
  • Chan (Zen) Buddhist traditions
  • 20th Century East Asian Art

Required reading

There was required readings for each day of the seminar. Having all readings completed prior to the seminar enhanced participants’ understanding of the material and daily small group activities and discussions depended on all members having done the reading. All reading material was provided.


Melanie King, Art History faculty at Seattle Central College


Aside from the registration and housing fees, this seminar was offered free of charge thanks to the Freeman Foundation NCTA grant to the East Asia Resource Center. Seminar benefits included:

  • 40 Washington State OSPI clock hours (free) OR two 400-level UW credits for a fee of approximately $230
  • A certificate of completion
  • All course materials provided
  • $100 stipend for the purchase of additional teaching materials, granted upon completion
  • A one-year subscription to Education about Asia
  • Morning snacks and lunches
  • Dormitory housing, meal allowance and partial travel stipend of up to $300 for a limited number of out-of-town participants


  • $100 registration fee for all participants, due upon acceptance
  • Additional $100 housing fee for out-of-town dorm guests