2009 – 2010 Academic Year
Museum Related Courses
LARS 2870 Himalayan Art and Culture: India and Nepal
This course introduces students to the rich artistic and cultural heritages of Himalayan India and Nepal. By tracing the early origins of Hindu and Buddhist art in Central Asia, students discover the development and fluid migration of this imagery over the centuries. Through observation, research, and critical thinking, students learn to distinguish works of art based on their specific geographical region and art historical time period. The course provides students with a profound understanding of and appreciation for the iconography, symbolism, content, and meaning found within the images. Various art-making processes and art materials are also discussed. This course includes several field trips to the Rubin Museum of (Himalayan) Art.
LREL 2803 Mandala: Tantric Buddhism
Envisioning the Buddhist aesthetics of enlightenment, this course explores the visual idioms, ritual practices, and philosophical principles associated with the spherical domain known as a mandala. Literally meaning “center and circumference,” a mandala is conceived as a presentation of sacred symmetry, a cosmograph, a device for meditative visualization, a psychological archetype, and a portal to mysterious realities; it serves as one of the most enduring representations of visionary art. This course examines themes such emptiness, interconnectivity, deity, and pure perception in order to understand the cosmological and contemplative dynamics of the mandala. As we discuss the forms and functions of a mandala as related to the tantric traditions of Buddhism throughout India, Tibet, and the greater Himalayan world as well as its Shingon manifestations in Japan, we will give specific attention to the imaginative architecture and iconographic symbolism of the Buddhist mandala and its possible parallel correlates with the tangible universe. This course is in concert with “Mandala: The Perfect Circle” exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art and it includes class sessions on the gallery floors of the museum.
LREL 3065 Buddhist Ethics
The Buddhist principle of karma, which engages a comprehensive system of moral self-cultivation, has recently been brought into profitable conversation with Western conceptions of justice and virtue to produce a new field of inquiry known as “Buddhist ethics.” Students will survey writings that range from ancient manuscripts to contemporary scholarly articles and books as they explore the theory of Buddhist ethics as well as its application. This course includes a required online component.
LREL 3990 Dharamsala: Tibetan Culture
LREL 3991 Dharamsala: Tibetan Language
Summer Study Abroad
LARS 2870 Himalayan Art and Culture: Tibet, Mongolia, and Bhutan
This course introduces students to the rich artistic and cultural heritages of Himalayan Tibet, Mongolia, and Bhutan. These places, some of the most remote corners of the world, have for centuries been creating masterpieces of aesthetic and religious significance. Through observation, research, and critical thinking, students learn to distinguish works of art based on their specific geographical region and art historical time period. The course provides the students with a profound understanding of and appreciation for the iconography, symbolism, content, and meaning found within the images. Various art-making processes and art materials are also discussed. This course includes several field trips to the Rubin Museum of (Himalayan) Art.
LEDU 3570 Learning in Museums
This course examines how people learn in museums, and how museum educators use different strategies for interpretation and teaching on gallery floors and in classrooms. Students visit some of the many museums of New York City to examine the role of education in relation to their mission. Topics include: informal learning environments, understanding the museum experience, the role of education in museums, multiple strategies for interpretation and teaching with collections, connecting galleries to the classroom, and researching evidence of museum learning. The Rubin Museum of Art, a museum dedicated to the art and culture of the Himalayas, serves as a laboratory for observation, lesson planning, teaching, and evaluation in museums.
LREL 2107 Religions of East Asia
This course introduces students to the major religions of East Asia–Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Popular Religion–mainly through extensive exploration of primary and literary sources in translation. Students read some of the “Great Texts” of these traditions, and discuss important questions, such as “Is Confucianism a religion?” “What is Taoism?” “What makes Buddhism ‘East Asian’?” and “What is so ‘popular’ about Popular Religion?” Students have the opportunity to engage sources of East Asian religions first hand and explore for themselves how these traditions have been transformed and continue to play a critical role in the world today.
LREL 3035 Sacred Cosmologies of Asia
Exploring cultural, philosophical, and scientific conceptions of the cosmos from myriad Asian perspectives, this course considers orientations of time and space, origins of the universe, quantum realities, and related themes such as karma, consciousness, wormholes, evolution, emptiness, and relativity. It considers multiple paradigms of the cosmos as conceived by the Hindu, Jain, Taoist, Buddhist, and indigenous shamanic traditions. Students focus on visible and invisible realms, classifications of beings, celestial heavens and netherworlds, purelands and polluted worlds, and intersections of contemporary science and spirituality. Course materials draw from Asian folk literature, visual narratives, contemplative manuals, and mythology. This course is offered in concert with the “Visions of the Cosmos: From Milky Ocean to Black Hole” exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art and includes field trips to the museum.
LWEL 2130 Buddhist Meditation
This course examines the origins, history, philosophy, and benefits of Buddhist meditation. Students learn the fundamentals of developing a meditation practice with the goal of learning how to apply these principles to their everyday life. Open to all students. NOTE: After the first class session, students must bring a meditation cushion or yoga block.