Sharon A. Suh, Professor and Chair of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University will deliver the Founders Annual Lecture in Comparative Religion and Contemporary Life, April 6, 2017 @ 7 PM in Simpson Center, Communications Bldg, room 120 Campus Map. This year Korea Studies is co-sponsoring the talk.
The topic of her talk has not yet been determined.
Her recent book Being Buddhist in a Christian World (UW Press) challenges Western notions of Buddhism as a self-effacing path to rebirth and enlightenment, and shows that Buddhism, for some U.S. Korean Buddhists, serves as a source of empowerment and as a wellspring of practical and spiritual relief from myriad everyday troubles. Painful life events and circumstances – psychological stresses, marital discord, adjustments to immigrant life, racial and religious minority status – prompt a turning toward religion in an effort to build self-esteem. The process of coming to find and know the self initiates a transformation that, far from taking future rebirths as its focus, enables the self to enact change in the present. Oral histories from twenty-five men and twenty-five women also offer unexpected insights into distinctly male and female forms of Buddhist worship.
As a commentary on ethnicity, Being Buddhist in a Christian World challenges much of the existing literature in Asian American studies by placing religion at the center and illustrating its importance for shaping ethnic identity. Not only does Suh ask how Korean American identity might be grounded in religion, she goes on to examine the implications of this grounding when the religious tradition is considered to be socially marginal.
For more information please contact Loryn Paxton, 206-543-4835.