The objective of the course is to offer a systematic study of systems of representation and symbolism within Asian thought and practice and provide students with a cutting-edge conceptual apparatus in semiotics and anthropology, enhancing their theoretical grounding through an introduction to key concepts from these disciplines. It shall examine the evolution of systems of representation and their function in conveying complex concepts in different historical contexts and communities, providing the students with both a specialised knowledge in the history and cultural contexts of the regions considered, whilst fostering a comprehensive understanding of the terminologies and histories of specific forms of representation. Through an interrogation of fundamental theoretical frameworks, case studies, and analyses of textual and visual materials, the course is designed to equip students with the analytical, methodological and theoretical skills for usage in their research.
This course is specifically designed for doctoral students specialising in Buddhist studies and related fields which focus on the cultural traditions of Asia. It offers a deep exploration into the working of systems of representation and symbolism within specific cultural frameworks, illuminating their role in shaping existential and ethical attitudes and conveying religious and philosophical ideas. Through such an exploration, students will develop a new conceptual lens with which they shall nuance their understanding of the traditions they study.
The course covers a wide range of topics within the field, from establishing and exploring theoretical frameworks for studying the complexities of representation to examining concrete case studies. It includes the analysis of textual and visual materials, alongside an investigation into the terminology and history of concepts pertaining to the problematics of representation, e.g.: