Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT2950 (AF:341023 AR:186280)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course provides an introduction to the study of early Indian Buddhism for those with no or little previous knowledge of the subject. It will explore the cultural context, the main doctrines and scriptures, ethics, ritual and other practices, monastic life. The course will focus on arts, archaeology and cultural materials, and will explore these aspects through case-studies, mostly chosen amongst the most important archaeological sites of South East Asia.
By the end of this course a typical student should be able to do most of the following:
Locate the origins of Buddhism of South-East Asia in its socio-religious context;
• Outline the spread of Buddhism in South-East Asia;
• Explain the fundamental concepts of Buddhism and relate these to the practices;
• Describe its main scriptural authorities;
• Identify a range of motivations underlying ordination and the relation between monasteries and Buddhist societies;
• Discuss some of the above with reference to relevant primary and secondary sources.
The course is an elective for the BA in Languages, Cultures and Societies of Asia and North Africa.
By the end of this course unit students should normally:

1. Have gained a good knowledge and critical understanding of the main topics concerning the cultural history of early Buddhism in South-East Asia;
2. Have gained an understanding of the continuities and discontinuities between the main schools of early Buddhism;
3. Be able to find and use critically a range of materials including books, journals, primary sources, and web-based resources relevant to the topics studied in the course.
4. Write a sustained argumentative essay on the basis of their study of the bibliography of the course.
No prerequisites: the course is for students with no or little previous knowledge of the subject.
History of Buddhism (Southeast Asia): art history, archaeology and material culture

1) Geography and general chronology ; The maritime circuits (case study Oc Eo, Vietnam)
2) How to read Buddhist art (see LT2950 South Asia Module)
3) The Early Classic phase of Myanmar: case study 1. Sri Ksetra; case study 2. case study Thatön
4) Case Study: Borobudur
5) Authenticity and Heritage: the Buddhist cultural patrimony.

Seminars (in English, with N. Revire)
6) Facts and Fiction on the Advent of Buddhism in the “Golden Land”
7) Dvāravatī Art and Culture: Between Tradition and Innovation
8) Origins and Spread of Bhadrāsana Buddhas
9) The Cult of the Past and Future Buddhas in Southeast Asia
10) The Life of the Buddha at Angkor

Seminars by J. T. McDaniel
11) Architects of Buddhist Leisure case 1: Kenzo Tange's Lumbini Park
12) Architects of Buddhist Leisure case 2: Ecumenical Parks and Cosmological Gardens
13) Architects of Buddhist Leisure case 3: Shi Fa Zhao and the Buddhist Museums
14) Modern Buddhist architecture in Asia .1
15) Modern Buddhist architecture in Asia .2

J. Miksic, The Buddhist-Hindu divide in Southeast Asia NSC Working Papers, 1, 2010 (PDF on Moodle)
H.P. Ray, The emergence of urban centres in Bengal: implications for the late prehistory of south east Asia (PDF on Moodle)
H. Bechert, Buddhismo Enciclopedia Treccani delle scienze sociali
M. Spagnoli, Asia sud-orientale: Arte, Enciclopedia Treccani Arte antica
J. Irwin, C. Lo Muzio, Lo stupa, Enciclopedia Treccani Arte antica
J. Miksic and G.G. Yian, Ancient South East Asia (capitoli scelti). Routledge 2017
J. Guy, Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2014 (PDF on Moodle)
J. Stargardt, The Great Silver Reliquary from Sri Ksetra: Early Buddhist Art Meets Early Pali Inscriptions in the Pyu Culture of Burma (Myanmar) Relics and Relic Worshipin Early Buddhism: India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Burma. Edited by Janice Stargardt and Michael Willis (The British Museum) London 2018 (PDF on Moodle)
Handouts on sites, architecture and monuments will be available on Moodle.
A selection of texts and epigraphic material will be available on Moodle.
A further reading: L.M. Olivieri, Fabrica gandharica. Lo stupa buddhista di Saidu Sharif I (Swat): le cave, il cantiere, l’officina (English edition [Serie Marco Polo, Edizioni Ca' Foscari] will be available in January 2022)
J.T. Mcdaniel, Architects of Buddhist Leisure, University of Hawai'i Press 2017.
A short written summary will be requested every 4 lessons.
Before the exam, the candidate will present a short (about 3000 words) research essay on a topic selected by the candidate that references and cites the texts we have studied.
Lectures and reading assignments. Seminars on early Indian Buddhism with guest lecturers. E-learning platform on Moodle.
For any inquires write to lucamaria.olivieri@unive.it

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "International cooperation" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 06/03/2022