Associate Professor of Religion
Professor Morrison teaches courses on East Asian religious traditions, including Buddhism, Daoism, and popular religious culture in China, Japan, and Korea. Her research on the history and practice of Chinese Buddhism focuses on issues of religious authority and historiography within the Chan (Zen) school. Professor Morrison came to Middlebury College in January 2003.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
INDE 0500 - Independent Project
INDE 0800 - Ind Scholar Thesis
Winter 2011, Spring 2011
INTL 0472 / HIST 0472 / RELI 0472 - Buddhist/Christian Monasticism
“The Religious Life”: Buddhist and Christian Monastic Traditions Compared*
Both Buddhism and Christianity include traditions of monasticism, of men and women leaving home for “the religious life.” In this course, we will study and compare Buddhist and Christian monasticism from historical and religious perspectives. We will read primary sources, from the Life of St. Anthony and the Rule of St. Benedict to the verses attributed to the first Buddhist nuns and a Zen monastic code. We will examine monastic vocation, the integration of monasteries into society, and the adaptation of monasticism to different cultures. Throughout, we will highlight the role of gender. We will conclude with attention to contemporary manifestations of monastic culture. This course is equivalent to HIST 0472 and RELI 0472. 3 hr sem.
INTL 0704 - EAS Senior Thesis
Latin American Studies Senior Thesis
Fall 2011, Winter 2012
RELI 0120 - Intro to Asian Religions ▹
Introduction to Asian Religious Classics AT
An introduction to the classics of the major religious traditions of Asia: Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Central themes from these traditions will be studied through the selected scriptures and texts of each tradition. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc.
Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Fall 2014
RELI 0121 - Buddhist Traditions in India
Buddhist Traditions in India AT
An introduction to the development of Indian Buddhist thought, practice, and institutions. The course will begin with an examination of the life of the Buddha and the formation of the early tradition. It will then explore developments from early Nikaya Buddhism, through the rise of the Mahayana, and culminating in Tantric Buddhism. Attention will be given throughout to parallel evolutions of doctrine, practice, and the path to Nirvana. 3 hrs. lect./disc.
RELI 0123 - Buddhist Tradition in EastAsia
The Buddhist Tradition in East Asia AT
An introduction to the development of Buddhism within the East Asian cultural sphere of China, Korea, and Japan. We will consider continuities of thought, institution, and practice with the Indian Buddhist tradition as well as East Asian innovations, particularly the rise of the Chan/Zen and Pure Land schools. (Follows RELI 0121 but may be taken independently) 3 hrs. lect./disc.
RELI 0223 - Buddhist Tradition in EastAsia
The Buddhist Tradition in East Asia AT
An introduction to the development of Buddhism within the East Asian cultural sphere of China, Korea, and Japan. We will consider continuities of thought, institution, and practice with the Indian Buddhist tradition as well as East Asian innovations, particularly the rise of the Chan/Zen and Pure Land schools. (Follows RELI 0220 but may be taken independently). 3 hrs. lect./disc.
Spring 2011, Spring 2012
RELI 0225 - Chinese Religions
Chinese Religions AT
An introduction to the rich religious history of China, with an emphasis on primary sources. Topics will include: the ideas and practices of ancient China, the teachings of Confucius and early Taoist (Daoist) thinkers, the introduction of Buddhism to China and its adaptation to Chinese culture, the complex interaction of Buddhism with the Confucian and Taoist traditions, the role of the state in religion, the "popular" Chinese religion of local gods and festivals, and the religious scene in modern Taiwan and mainland China. 3 hrs. lect./disc.
RELI 0228 / JAPN 0228 - Japanese Religions
Japanese Religions AT
We will begin our study of Japanese religions with the ancient mythology that forms the basis of Shinto (the way of the kami, or gods). We will then consider the introduction of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism to Japan and examine how these traditions were accepted, absorbed, and adapted. We will also investigate Japanese reactions to Christianity in the 16th century and the appearance of "new" Japanese religions starting in the 19th century. Throughout, we will ask how and why Japanese have both adhered to tradition and been open to new religions. 3 hrs. lect./disc.
Spring 2011, Fall 2012
RELI 0325 - Seminar in Buddhist Studies
Seminar in Buddhist Studies: Chinese Buddhism AT
We will study the introduction of Buddhism to China and its development in that cultural setting. We begin by considering the profound differences between Buddhism and Chinese culture and possible reasons for the widespread acceptance of Buddhism in China. We then address Chinese innovations in Buddhist thought and practice, relations between Buddhists and the state, and the interaction of Buddhism with Confucianism, Taoism, and popular religion. We will conclude with a brief investigation into the current state of Buddhism in mainland China, Taiwan, and Chinese diaspora communities. (RELI 0120 or RELI 0220 or RELI 0225) 3 hrs. sem.
RELI 0329 - Religion in Modern China ▹
Persecution and Revival of Religion in Modern China AT
In this study of the dramatic recent religious history of China, we will begin with "modern" critics and reformers at the end of the imperial era and then consider the communist suppression of religion and the "cult of Mao." Our focus, however, will be the remarkable revival of religion since Mao's death in 1976. We will investigate the activity itself-ranging from traditional practices to new religious movements to various forms of Christianity - and the complex cultural and political dynamics involved in this "return" to religion. (HIST 0232, RELI 0225, or waiver) 3 hrs. sem.
Fall 2010, Spring 2013, Fall 2014
RELI 0500 - Independent Research ▹
Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
RELI 0601 - Senior Project in Religion
Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012
RELI 0700 - Senior Project in Religion ▹
Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
RELI 0701 - Senior Thesis in Religion ▹
Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
RELI 1023 - Early Taoist Texts
Early Taoist Texts
In this course we will concentrate on the two great early Taoist (Daoist) texts, the Tao te ching (Daode jing) and the Chuang–tzu (Zhuangzi), both of which date from the Warring States period (475 -221 b.c.e.) of China and yet remain widely read and studied. We will read them closely, in multiple translations, and consider questions of authorship, audience, and philosophical and religious content. We will wrestle at length with these wonderful and difficult texts, with attention first to their original context and then to their reception and interpretation in later East Asian religion, philosophy, and literature. (This course is not open to students who have taken RELI 0227).