Courses We’d Love To Take

Religion 310. Death, Hell, and Rebirth in Chinese History with Prof. Ken Brashier.

September 5, 2018

Using Reed’s study collection of Chinese hell scrolls as a springboard, this course explores texts and images that trace out the cycles of death and rebirth in literary genres. We follow the monk Mulian as he looks for his mother in hell, and we witness Emperor Taizong as he faces judgment before the underworld magistrates. We study Chinese sutras as well as the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and we unpack the 400-page travelogue of Taiwanese monks who in the 1970s undertook scores of day trips to hell via spiritual mediums. Throughout we will consider which theoretical lenses in religious studies are most useful in increasing our understanding of Chinese retributive hell. Prerequisite: Religion 113 or 115, and Religion 201 or Humanities 231–232, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Prof. Brashier is an inspiring teacher who was named an “outstanding” professor by the Carnegie Foundation. He is also a Rhodes Scholar, a Truman Scholar, and a long-distance runner.

Check out this magazine piece we wrote about the course, To Hell And Back.

Tags: Courses We’d Love To Take, Academics