Episode 2 – Engaging Students in the Big Picture, with Matt King

In this episode, Sarah Richardson speaks with Matt King, Associate Professor in Transnational Buddhism in the Department of Religious Studies and Director of Asian Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

Sarah and Matt talk about why there is even such a thing as Buddhist studies, and why it matters to work toward decolonizing the classroom. They also discuss how his research informs his teaching, and what kinds of approaches he takes to promote inspired learning.

Show Notes

1:36 – Matt introduces himself and his teaching at UC Riverside

3:48 – Matt’s journey into Buddhist Studies

5:50 – Influential teachers

7:06 – Sali Tagliamonte’s academic influence on Matt

8:41 – Adapting personal influence into one’s own classroom

11:25 – The practical applications of Buddhist Studies or Religious Studies

15:23 – Broadening student engagement with Buddhist Studies

18:23 – Working with students’ cultural perception of Buddhism 

21:26 – Decolonizing Buddhist Studies

23:48 –  The public work of the humanities, and the role of the public academic

28:06 – The root of silence within Buddhist Studies

31:22 – The reluctance to embrace living Buddhist communities

32:20 – Matt discusses his book, Ocean of Milk, Ocean of Blood: A Mongolian Monk in the Ruins of the Qing Empire

41:00 – Counter-modernisms

44:14 – Public reception of Ocean of Milk, Ocean of Blood

45:08 – The value of research to student engagement

49:02 – Assignments, writing e-books, and student collaboration

55:59 – Balancing course reading sources and alternatives to readings

58:30 – Engaging with articles that have won awards

1:02:12 – Articles that stand out with students (Elverskog, Makley, Schopen)         

1:04:20 – Finding out where the women are, and false absenteeism

1:05:28 – Teaching as personal development and growth

1:09:33 – The infamous use of rap in Matt’s classroom

1:11:23 – Endings

Resources Mentioned

Johan Elverskog’s 2013 book, Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road

Charlene E. Makley’s 2003 article, “Gendered Boundaries in Motion: Space and Identity on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier” in American Ethnologist 30(4)

Gregory Schopen’s video lecture on The Buddha as a Businessman

Article on The Tao of RZA