This seminar examines women's religious beliefs and practices in Buddhism and other East Asian religious traditions. It examines the intricate relationship between gender and religion in East Asian societies. We will explore the cultural and social constructs that have shaped the way women have been perceived and portrayed throughout history. By examining the roles assigned to women in relation to men, the seminar will uncover distinctions between female and male expressions of piety. We will also explore the treatment of the body in religious discourses of salvation, gaining a deeper understanding of the ways in which religion has shaped gender relations in East Asian societies. The course materials are organized thematically and by expressions of faith rather than individual religious traditions. It will be a journey to challenge our preconceptions about the role of women in religion.

Grading: Bi-Weekly Self-assessment Reports 40%, Peer-Review Class Presentations (incl. précis and outline) 25%, Peer-Review Term Paper 25%, Final Self-Assessment Report 10%

This course adopts two interwoven learning approaches: "self-regulated learning" and "collaborative learning." Self-regulated learning gives students the power to monitor their learning process and improve the academic skills of their choosing and at their own pace. It allows students to take charge of their own education. How does it work in the context of this course? I, the instructor, determine the academic framework and content but do not grade you, the students, at all. Rather, you will evaluate your own performance biweekly. Collaborative learning helps you as students learn efficiently and productively by sharing knowledge as you collaborate on reading and writing assignments as well as evaluate the work of your peers (double-blind). The more supportive you are toward your fellow students in providing assistance and constructive critiques, the more you will learn from them. To encourage self-motivation and accountability, B+ is the default final grade for this course. Each of you will give yourself a grade based on an honest reflection of your academic process according to the rubrics I provide in this syllabus. I reserve the right to adjust any grade where I find an unreasonable discrepancy between self-assessments, peer reviews, and normative academic standards. This could mean that I may raise a B+ to an A if I find you’re too harsh on yourself or lower a B+ to a B if I find you unduly lenient on yourself.

Students will:

  • Gain an understanding of women’s and gendered experiences in practicing East Asian religions, past and present.
  • Acquire and improve academic skills in reading, making presentations, and writing.
  • Develop the ability to reflect on and assess their and their peers' learning progress.

For the undergraduate students specifically: This course achieves the Asian Languages and Cultures Departmental Learning Goals specified for the Asian Studies (098) and Chinese (165) major and minor. For the complete statement, see Asian Languages and Cultures Departmental Learning Goals (https://asianstudies.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate/learning-goals ).

You can choose whether to wear masks and engage in social distancing while in the classroom. However, masks are strongly encouraged for those who have yet to receive the bivalent booster. Please be reminded that COVID could cause severe long-term health problems and even death. If you test positive for COVID at any point during the semester, you should not return to the classroom until you have a negative test, even if you have no symptoms. Please be advised that the university’s policies may change as conditions require; for the latest information, check the university-wide COVID-19 Information page (https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/ ).

Attendance is not mandatory for this course, but class participation is. This is the one area I will most likely adjust the grade you give yourself. When in class, please observe the following:

Preparedness: Complete and understand the reading assignment before the class.
Mastery: Demonstrate ability to apply course materials to address questions in discussions.
Engagement: Actively initiate and respond to questions and contribute to discussions.
Teamwork: Be respectful, supportive, engaging and listening to your peers.
Discussion: Focus and clearly articulate your analysis, synthesis & argument.
Overall: Your presence enhances the dynamic and level of discussion in the classroom.

Please be advised that class participation is the one basis on which I will most likely adjust the grade you give yourself at the end of the semester.

I expect you to always uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. Violations include plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, facilitation of dishonesty, and academic sabotage. See the current Academic Integrity Policy. Ignorance of the policy is not a mitigating circumstance. Among these violations, plagiarism is the most common. If you are not sure what plagiarism is, watch this short YouTube video.

It is the policy of Rutgers to make reasonable academic accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. If you have a disability and wish to request accommodations to complete your course requirements, please contact the Office of Disability Services.

Course Materials: All readings are available via Rutgers library links or CANVAS Files. If not, please first look it up on Rutgers Library website or consult a Rutgers librarian. Email me if you still cannot locate a copy.