Guest Lecture: Theravada Cosmology In and Out of History

Speaker: Alastair Gornall (Singapore University of Technology and Design)

Date: April 13, 2023

Time: 5:00 pm PST

Location: 3335 Dwinelle Hall, University of California Berkeley


Abstract: European-language scholarship on Theravada Buddhism still needs a systematic study of cosmology. This neglect of cosmology contrasts with the interests of Theravada scholar-monks in history, who, over two thousand years, have produced a vast archive of thought about the world or loka. In this talk, I will discuss historical and methodological reasons why Buddhist studies has ignored this knowledge. I will also offer an interpretative sketch of Theravada cosmological literature and highlight some of the tradition’s crucial yet overlooked concepts.

About the Speaker: Alastair Gornall gained his Ph.D. in Asian Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2013. He is currently an Assistant Professor in History and Religion at the Singapore University of Technology and Design and a Research Associate in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia at SOAS, University of London. His research focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia. He teaches courses on Asian religion and history and helps lead the digital humanities minor program.


Sponsors: Center for Buddhist StudiesGlorisun Global Network

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