“Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road”
Johan Elverskog (Southern Methodist University)
Abstract: The meeting of Buddhism and Islam is often conceived within a single moment, namely, the Turkic destruction of the famous monastery Nalanda, which purportedly ushered in the demise of Buddhism in India. And no doubt one reason this single event has come to symbolize the on-going 1300 year process of Buddhist-Muslim interaction lies in the fact that it readily confirms our preconceived imaginings: Islam is bad and violent, while Buddhism is good and peaceful. Yet clearly it was not so simple. The aim of this talk is therefore to problematize this image by exploring the cultural exchanges that took place between Buddhists and Muslims on the Silk Road.
Johan Elverskog is Altshuler University Distinguished Teaching Professor and Professor of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University. He is the author and editor of six books, including most recentlyOur Great Qing: The Mongols, Buddhism and the State in Late Imperial China (2006),The Pearl Rosary: Mongol Historiography in Nineteenth Century Ordos (2007), andBiographies of Eminent Mongol Buddhists (2008). His most recent book,Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road (2010), received 2011 Award for Excellence in the Historical Study of Religion from the American Academy of Religion. Currently, he is a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and working on project titled “Earthquakes as Enlightenment: An Environmental History of Buddhist Asia.”
[Co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies, the Department of History, and the Silk Road Group]
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC