Elizabeth Morrison

Associate Professor of Religion

 
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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

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1453 - Karma      

Karma
Why do things happen to us as they do? For many throughout Asia, the answer is or has been karma, the ancient Indian notion that over multiple lifetimes individuals reap the effects of past actions. We will examine this powerful idea of moral causality in depth, considering strikingly varied versions in classical Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, and the wealth of practices believed to improve future lives (and ultimately lead to liberation). We will also investigate the diverse and surprising consequences of karma in some Asian societies—including the justification of social hierarchy, the mistreatment of some groups, and the emergence of vegetarianism—as well as the role of karma in literature and film, especially in East Asia. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW PHL

Fall 2015

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IGST 0704 / INTL 0704 - EAS Senior Thesis      

Latin American Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Fall 2014, Winter 2015

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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. CMP HIS PHL

Spring 2012

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RELI 0120 - Asian Religious Classics      

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. AAL CMP PHL

Fall 2014

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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. AAL PHL

Fall 2012

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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. AAL PHL

Spring 2013

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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. AAL PHL

Spring 2012

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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. AAL PHL

Fall 2011, Spring 2015

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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. AAL PHL

Fall 2012, Spring 2015

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RELI 0229 - Persecution and Revival      

Persecution and Revival of Religion in Modern China
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. 3 hrs. lect. AAL PHL

Fall 2015

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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. AAL PHL

Spring 2013

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RELI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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RELI 0601 - Senior Project in Religion      

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012

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RELI 0700 - Senior Project in Religion      

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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RELI 0701 - Senior Thesis in Religion      

Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Approval required

Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

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Program in International and Global Studies

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