50 episodes

Footnotes is a series of short lectures or conversations on research in the field of Buddhist Studies. Created by Frances Garrett, a professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, with co-host Tony Scott, most episodes are summaries or discussions of articles or book chapters from academic work in the field, with some episodes featuring guest lectures or guest hosts from events and courses at the University of Toronto. We aim to make Buddhist Studies research freely accessible to students and the public.

Footnotes was made possible by a grant from eCampusOntario and also receives support from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto. Audio editing has been done by Jesse Whitty and Frances Garrett.

Buddhist Studies Footnotes Frances Garrett

    • Religion & Spirituality

Footnotes is a series of short lectures or conversations on research in the field of Buddhist Studies. Created by Frances Garrett, a professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, with co-host Tony Scott, most episodes are summaries or discussions of articles or book chapters from academic work in the field, with some episodes featuring guest lectures or guest hosts from events and courses at the University of Toronto. We aim to make Buddhist Studies research freely accessible to students and the public.

Footnotes was made possible by a grant from eCampusOntario and also receives support from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto. Audio editing has been done by Jesse Whitty and Frances Garrett.

    Buddhist environmentalism through philosophy of language

    Buddhist environmentalism through philosophy of language

    A conversation with Nan Kathy Lin, visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College in religious ethics and critical thought. Her work focuses on East Asian Buddhism, environmentalism, and moral philosophy as informed by ordinary language philosophy.
    In this conversation with Frances Garrett, part of a Footnotes series on posthumanist approaches to the study of Buddhism, Nan Kathy Lin talks about her work on developing a theory of religious change as seen through Buddhist environmentalism, drawing on philosophy of language and theoretical biology. She discusses the use of the concept of "interdependence" by 20th-century environmentalists, and she traces how the word interdependence as a translation of the Buddhist term paticca-samuppada should be seen as a response to moral concepts, such as growth or progress, embedded in 20th-century industrial political economy.
    This episode of Buddhist Studies Footnotes was created, produced and edited by Frances Garrett, with support from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto. This project aims to make Buddhist Studies research freely accessible to students and the public.

    • 27 min
    Rescaling the human: Nature, culture, and science in the Gobi Desert

    Rescaling the human: Nature, culture, and science in the Gobi Desert

    A conversation with Matt King, professor of Buddhist studies at the University of California, Riverside. King is also the director of Asian studies and co-director of the medical humanities program at UCR. His research traces encounters between Buddhist scholasticism, science, humanism and state socialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
    In this conversation with Frances Garrett, part of a Footnotes series on posthumanist approaches to the study of Buddhism, Matt King talks about his new research on the Gobi desert in the long 19th century. He discusses frontiers and zones of exchange between Tibetan and Mongolian communities in early 20th century China and Buddhist perspectives on nature, culture, and science. He talks about how nature/culture binaries may be understood newly through the lens of Buddhism, Indigenous studies, Black feminist studies, and models of planetary thinking, and about how the concept of nature is used to justify power structures, including colonialism and imperialism. He describes how his research with Mongolian and Tibetan sources suggests that knowledge and environments are co-produced and fundamentally perspectival.
    This episode of Buddhist Studies Footnotes was created, produced and edited by Frances Garrett, with support from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto. This project aims to make Buddhist Studies research freely accessible to students and the public.

    • 49 min
    Earth, water, fire, wind, space: Contemplative ecology in Buddhism

    Earth, water, fire, wind, space: Contemplative ecology in Buddhism

    A conversation with Devin Zuckerman, a Buddhist studies scholar from the University of Virginia whose research looks at Buddhist theories and practices involving the elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space.
    In this conversation with Frances Garrett, part of a Footnotes series on posthumanist approaches to the study of Buddhism, Devin Zuckerman talks about how the elements are used to map human difference, and how they function as an “information technology” that connects human bodies and non-human environments. She describes sensory practices such as listening to the sounds of water as a way of making intelligible a more-than-human world. Drawing inspiration from eco-feminism, she explores how embodied contemplative practices in Buddhism may subvert a nature/culture binary, and how these practices may allow climate change to manifest in a practitioner's body.
    Listeners may learn more about Devin Zuckerman’s work at https://vcsr.virginia.edu/devin-zuckerman.
    Works discussed in this conversation include Astrida Neimanis and Rachel Loewen Walker’s article “’Weathering’: Climate Change and the ‘Thick Time’ of Transcorporeality” , published in Hypatia, Vol. 29, No. 3 (2014), pp.558-575.
    This episode of Buddhist Studies Footnotes was created, produced and edited by Frances Garrett, with support from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto. This project aims to make Buddhist Studies research freely accessible to students and the public.

    • 31 min
    Living mountains and mineral intimacies in Mongolia

    Living mountains and mineral intimacies in Mongolia

    A conversation with Jessica Madison Pískatá, a cultural anthropologist who studies relationships between humans and geological landscapes on the peripheries of Cold War empires. Pískatá is now Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College.
    In this conversation with Frances Garrett, part of a Footnotes series on posthumanist approaches to the study of Buddhism, Pískatá talks about how her interest in anthropology was sparked by the experience of translating poetry in Mongolia, and how working with Mongolian poets led to insights into the relationship between people and the mineral landscape. She describes how geosocial relationships with mountains and mines can challenge binaries of living and nonliving, or nature and social life. Pískatá also discusses Mongolian understandings of the concept of energy, in the context of the field of energy humanities, and her new work on uranium mining in the Czech Republic.
    Listeners may read and listen to three poems celebrating life on Earth called “Grass Trilogy” by Mongolian author Ochirbatyn Dashbalbar, translated by Jessica Madison Pískatá, at https://www.sapiens.org/culture/grass-trilogy/.
    Works discussed include:

    Elizabeth Povinelli’s  Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism (Duke University Press, 2016)
    Philippe Descola’s Beyond Nature and Culture (trans. J. Lloyd) (Chicago University Press, 2013)
    Cara New Daggett’s The Birth of Energy: Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics, and the Politics of Work (Duke University Press, 2019)
    Breanna Wilson's article in Forbes magazine, Feb 25, 2024, "How To Visit Shambala, Mongolia’s Most Sacred And Spiritual Place"

    This episode of Buddhist Studies Footnotes was created, produced and edited by Frances Garrett, with support from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto. This project aims to make Buddhist Studies research freely accessible to students and the public.

    • 37 min
    A Clinical Bioethicist on End-of-Life Decision-Making

    A Clinical Bioethicist on End-of-Life Decision-Making

    Dr. Sean Hillman discusses caregiving work and his research on end-of-life care in India through the lenses of religious studies, bioethics and the law. He talks about how religious views affect end-of-life decision-making of patients, families and health care professionals; issues around blocking disclosure of bad news in sharing of sensitive medical information; ritual fasting and immobilization at the end of life; and attitudes towards end-of-life care, including pain management, hospice palliative care and assistance in dying.
    Dr. Hillman is a clinical bioethicist with the Centre for Clinical Ethics (CCE), a consultant organization based at Unity Health Toronto and contracted to seven institutions in Ontario. He also is a Buddhist Corrections Chaplain for two facilities in the Kingston region. Dr. Hillman was a bedside caregiver in hospital for almost two decades and did a year-long fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Bioethics also at the CCE. A medical anthropologist and textualist, he has a doctorate in religion, bioethics, and south Asian studies from the University of Toronto.
    A scholar of Asian philosophies and languages for almost thirty years, Dr. Hillman has spent five years living, studying and researching in India. His current research projects are on maximizing decisional participation by those who might have mental capacity interferences, and on how to better understand why families may request aggressive medical management for their loved-ones despite a poor prognosis (including religious logic such as vitalism, non-harm and filial piety). Dr. Hillman is a member of Durham Family Resources community advisory committee for their “recognizing capacity” pilot project which advocates for increased inclusion of those with intellectual, cognitive or communication challenges and for including supported decision making in Ontario healthcare law.

    • 51 min
    The Paisley Gate: Intersections of Buddhism & Psychedelics

    The Paisley Gate: Intersections of Buddhism & Psychedelics

    As psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies march towards likely legality for therapeutic purposes, we may ask  how Buddhism and psychedelics intersect. In this episode, Kerry Helston explores some challenges and opportunities as well as the existing legacy of Buddhism and psychedelics in the West, with reference to current science and academic literature as well as personal experiences. 
    Resources mentioned:
    Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America by Douglas Osto
    LSD and the Mind of the Universe by Christopher M. Bache 
    Secret Drugs of Buddhism: Psychedelic Sacraments and the Origins of the Vajrayana by Mike Crowley
    “Characterization and prediction of acute and sustained response to psychedelic psilocybin in a mindfulness group retreat”
    “Psychedelics, Meditation, and Self-Consciousness”
    Chacruna Religion & Psychedelics Forum
    Kerry Helston is a University of Toronto graduate student in psychotherapy and spiritual care. The Footnotes series is produced at the University of Toronto, in Canada. See more at https://buddhist-studies-footnotes.castos.com/.

    • 35 min

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