This course is discontinued

REL4160 – Buddhist Modernities

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Buddhism has adapted to rapid economic, social, cultural and political transformations in the modern, post-modern and globalized world.

Since its inception in India in the sixth century BC, Buddhism spread, first throughout Asia, and then globally in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Buddhism has shown a remarkable flexibility and an ability to co-exist with a variety of social structures as it spread not only to farming and herding societies, but also to highly complex Asian and Western urban centers.

In the West, the popularity of Buddhism was inspired by the academic study of Asian religions, the romanticism of Orientalism, the Beat-generation of the 1950s, the hippies of the 1960s and the contemporary New Age-movement – as well as by Asian migration to the West. Buddhists work, not only for world peace, but also for increased social engagement, ecological awareness and gender equality.

At the same time – both in the past and in the contemporary world – Buddhist clerics have encouraged to, and also engaged in, armed conflicts and wars.

This class covers, with a thematic and/or regional focus, such modern Buddhist developments.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will

  • have knowledge about Buddhist modernity in different parts of the world
  • be able to analyze and discuss how globalization, secularization, rationalization, individualization affect contemporary Buddhism
  • be able to apply theoretical concepts to understand Buddhist modernity
  • be able to give an account of religious change and religious pluralism
  • get insight into engaged Buddhism


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Registered MA-student.

The course requires good knowledge of English.

Overlapping courses

The student is responsible for making sure that the course content does not overlap with other courses the student has already received credit for.


The course consists of lectures and seminars. A detailed schedule will be published on the semester page in early January.

Compulsory tuition activities

  • Attendance to at least three out of four seminars
  • A short written essay, must be approved by the course teacher

Detailed information on the essay will be published on the semester page in early January.

In accordance with the Faculty's guidelines, all compulsory tuition activities are prerequisites for being allowed to sit for the final examination. In the event of illness, you must submit documentation showing that your illness has prevented you from participation in the activity in question. Contact the student advisor the same day as the activity is taking place. Documentation must be submitted to the student advisor within three working days.


Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Home examination over three days.

You must complete all compulsory tuition activities in order to be allowed to sit for the final examination.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The language of examination is English. It is generally possible to submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2016


Spring 2016

Teaching language