UHP Faculty Update – Professor Eyal Aviv

9 Mar

Not surprisingly, the highlight of my year was, again, meeting the incredibly talented and enthusiastic students of the Honors program.

I am excited about some changes I have made in the syllabus for the Origins proseminar.  I was pleased with the successful integration of the 21st century into the classroom: this year, my Origins class and I established a Facebook group where students continue to debate themes from the class long after my bedtime. For our Professors on the Town outing we will go to a traditional Chinese Teahouse.

In addition to Origins, I am teaching an Arts and Humanities seminar on Buddhist Philosophy this semester. With my upper-class course I have planned a visit to a Tibetan Buddhist temple, where the students will meet local monks and nuns.  Students will have a chance to witness how philosophical themes discussed in class manifest as everyday reality for the monastic community. They will also get a taste of Buddhist meditation practice and taste of delicious vegetarian Chinese food from a nearby restaurant.

Beyond the immense pleasure of teaching, this year has also been very productive and busy for me on the academic front. An article I wrote about a foundational Buddhist text and its reception in China will be published in a book by Harvard University Press. In addition, I wrote a review, which was published in H-Buddhism, the leading discussion network in the field of Buddhist Studies. I plan to continue my work on another article and my book project, both of which are dedicated to the role of Buddhist Philosophy in shaping modern Chinese intellectual history.

Aside from writing, I will spend much time in the air in the coming summer. I have two conferences in Taiwan. For one of them, the triennial meeting of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, I have organized a cross-cultural discussion of the role of lay Buddhists in the formation of Modern Buddhism. The real treat would be after the conferences. I am planning to stay for an additional week in Taiwan, work, drink good tea and spend time with other scholars on a beautiful mountain top Buddhist university campus. Upon returning from Taiwan, I will present in another conference in South Africa. This will be my first trip t the African continent and I am very excited about it.

With this much travel time this summer, I can’t wait to get back to classroom for the Fall semester of 2011, where, it seems, greeting another year of Honors students will ensure that my feet will remain on the ground for a little while.

Prof. Eyal Aviv and Honors students


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