Copyright, Steve Hambuchen
J.R. Howard Hall
Jessie Starling joined the faculty of Lewis & Clark in 2013 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Japanese Buddhism at the University of California, Berkeley. She teaches classes on Asian religions, including RELS 243: Buddhism: Theory, Culture, and Practice; RELS 242 Religions and Cultures of East Asia; RELS 244 Religion and Secularization in Contemporary Japan; RELS 356 Women in Buddhism; and RELS 357 Family, Gender and Religion: Ethnographic Approaches.
Fall 2014 Courses:
RELS 241 Religion and Culture of Hindu India
This course surveys various historical and contemporary forms of Hindu religion such as Vedic ritual, Brahmanical philosophy, world-renunciation, epic tales, devotion to Śiva and Krishna, pilgrimage, and tantra. As we investigate Hinduism’s varied forms we will explore issues such as gender, caste, colonialism and nationalism in India. Students in this course will undertake a semester-long research project on a topic relating to Hinduism, culminating in a final paper and presentation.
RELS 243 Buddhism: Theory, Culture, and Practice
In this course students will develop a critical understanding of Buddhist philosophical concepts and religious practices. We will read primary sources such as sermons, monastic codes, miracle tales, ritual texts and sutras, as well as ethnography and secondary scholarship that will introduce us to contemporary problems in the scholarly study of Buddhism. Emphasis will be on East Asian forms of Buddhism, such as devotion to the Lotus Sutra, Pure Land practice, and Chan/Zen monasticism.
Professor Starling’s research concerns the role of women in contemporary Japanese “Temple Buddhism.” The vast majority of temples in modern-day Japan are smaller parish temples run by a married Buddhist cleric, who lives together with his wife and children. Starling’s work lies at the intersection of Buddhist doctrine, gender, family, and material practices. After completing a monograph based on her ethnography of temple wives in the True Pure Land Buddhist school (Jōdo Shinshū), she plans to investigate the activities of Buddhist laywomen’s groups in modern Japan, including the dynamics of the production of doctrinal materials by male monks in response to the voracious demand of these women’s groups.
Ph.D. 2012 University of Virginia
M.A. 2006 University of Virginia
B.A. 2000 Guilford College