Forum on Race & Religion

As part of the on-going efforts to transition to an actively anti-racist department at Dartmouth College, the faculty of the Religion Department announce the establishment of a series of panel discussions and colloquia focusing on the intersection of race and religion. This initiative is being undertaken in response to the distressingly frequent incidence of racial violence not only in the United States but in many countries throughout the world.  Sadly, religions have played important roles in encouraging and legitimating racial and ethnic oppression. However, religion has also inspired extraordinary acts of resistance and critiques of racial injustice.  These series of events will explore the complexity and volatility of the relationship between race and religion, not only in the United States, but in other parts of the world.  Each forum will allow time for discussion and will be open to students, faculty, and staff of Dartmouth College.

2020- 2021 Academic Year

Upcoming Events

 

Thursday, February 25 at 12:30-2:00 (via Zoom, details below)

#BuddhistCultureWars: BuddhaBros, Alt-Right Dharma, and Snowflake Sanghas

  • Professor Ann Gleig, University of Central Florida
  • Brenna Artinger, President of the Alliance for Bhikkhunis

Abstract: While often associated with a liberal demographic, the increasing online visibility of rhetoric such as—"snowflakes," "politically correct," "postmodern identity politics," and "cultural Marxism"—demonstrates the presence of right-wing sentiments and populations in American convert Buddhism. This talk situates these sentiments largely as a reaction to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in these communities. We chart this backlash across a broad right-wing spectrum that spans from "reactionary centrism" to the alt-right. We illuminate the ways in which participants both de-legitimate DEI as political rather than Buddhist and naturalize their own position as Buddhist rather than political. Next, we show how American convert Buddhist lineages have become a site of the "culture wars," longstanding clashes between religious conservatives and progressives, that are playing out in multiple contexts across the U.S Finally, we locate these reactionary right-wing forms of American Buddhism in relationship to modern and postmodern forms of global Buddhism.