The following information is for Summer 2022.
Buddhism in Thai Society
RELS 258. 4 credits;
Foundations Credit for F11 and F1
Locations and Dates:
Chiang Mai, Thailand
May 30th, 2022 to June 24th, 2022
With a population of about 200,000, this Northern capital of Thailand is the second largest city in Thailand. Removed from the beaches and big city life of Southern and Central Thailand, Chiang Mai is known for its mountains and diverse culture. Bordering Laos and Myanmar, this region has much ethnic diversity as well. Chiang Mai is located about 425 miles from Bangkok. The two cities are connected by convenient one hour flights or overnight trains and buses. Historically, Chiang Mai was the center of a Northern Kingdom called Lanna, which contained its own unique culture and heritage since its founding, over 700 years ago in 1297. Today travelers from all over the world come to Chiang Mai to experience the culture and nature of Northern Thailand. The architecture, which is a mix of traditional Lanna and Burmese, is fascinating to explore. In Chiang Mai city, most residents are used to tourists and may know conversational English. Because of this, students will be able to easily travel and experience Chiang Mai in and outside of class time. It is very easy to get around in Chiang Mai, with the primary forms of transportation being walking, bicycling, or variations on the taxi system, tuk tuks and saungthaews in Thai. These latter modes of transportation (less than $1 per trip) are very inexpensive compared to America. A short saungthaew ride away are ideal places for students to explore including the old city, weekend markets, the Night Bazaar, the riverside, zoo, and night safari.
Our course for this Maymester, Buddhism in Thai Society, introduces students to Buddhism and the relationship between religion and society through a series of classroom presentations, short and longer day trips to Buddhist temples, and interviews with Thai Buddhist practitioners. Particular attention is given to the practice of Buddhism in Thailand along with a grounding in the tradition’s Indian roots and its influence on Thai Buddhism. This course seeks to help students develop a rich understanding of Theravada Buddhism as it is lived in Thailand: its doctrines, institutions, practices, values, and the role that it plays in the personal and social life of people in Thailand. We will take a topical approach discussing themes such as gender, social engagement, the monastic life, and meditation. Towards the end of the course new developments within Thai Buddhism will be analyzed in detail. Students will be encouraged to take advantage of their access to various temples, monks, and Buddhist communities while studying abroad in Thailand as a way of enriching their educational experience. Students should emerge from this course with a wealth of knowledge concerning the Buddhist tradition in general, as well as an appreciation for the role Buddhism has played in shaping many aspects of contemporary Thailand. In this 3.5-week intensive course students will study the diversity of Buddhist expressions in Thailand and should expand their ability to think and write critically about the concepts that they encounter in the course.
Students will spend a majority of their time near Chiang Mai University campus or traveling within the city of Chiang Mai. Students will spend their three weeks at a centrally located apartment complex near the university, where each suite has a shared bathroom, two beds, and two desks. From this accommodation, we can easily travel to campus to attend class, to the old city for exploring, or right outside their door for some world-famous Thai street food. We will spend two nights at a female Buddhist monastery where we will be staying in slightly more rustic dormitory style accommodations.
Students will arrive at the Chiang Mai airport and take a taxi to their accommodation. For all excursions to or after class, the professor will arrange for local transportation (Thai style taxis) to take us from the classroom building to the temples for each day. When we travel to the female Buddhist monastery, the professor will arrange vans to take us to the temple and pick us up upon our return.
Minimum GPA 2.5 and good academic and social standing.
Cost of program:
$1950 (cost includes lodging, transportation to all class-related activities, and some group meals)
: Professor Brooke Schedneck, firstname.lastname@example.org
Need-Based Scholarship Available:
- All students on Summer Programs will be considered for a need-based scholarship if they have completed a FAFSA and have at least a 2.75 GPA.
- Not all students will receive an award. Need based award amounts vary, based on each student's individual FAFSA information. Some awards may cover up to 100% of the program cost, though that is rare.
- Students choosing to withdraw their Off-Campus Study Application for a Rhodes Summer Program* must do so by February 14. Following February 14, Rhodes′ "Program Fees and Billing" Policy, and Rhodes′ "Cancellation and Refund" Policy will apply. Follow this link to review our Policies.