May 2020 update: We’re happy to announce our new Online Teaching Resource Fellowship project, running this summer. The following University of Toronto graduate students in Buddhist Studies will be gathering and annotating online resources relevant to teaching in our field. Here you will find their own areas of research and teaching interest – we encourage you to reach out to our team with your own requests for help in finding resources relevant to your own upcoming teaching work. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We’re here to help you this summer!
Online Teaching Resource Fellows
Austin Simoes-Gomes, Ph.D. Student
I am a Ph.D student in the Department for the Study of Religion working on possession and healing among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. My work seeks to decentre the spirit medium in the study of possession rituals by showing the ways in which possession is an intersubjective event co-created by all the participants, including those usually considered passive by-standers, such as family members, people accompanying the to-be-healed, attendants, and other devotees. My other research interests include Buddhist birth and embryological narratives, Buddhism and children, and teaching theory.
In terms of teaching, I am particularly interested in embodied and experiential pedagogies. I strive to teach students in a way that acknowledges the fact that learning is not merely a cognitive act and that the body itself is an integral part of the learning process. I am interested in employing multimedia materials, such as recordings, and films so students get a sense of the sensuality of religious experience. In light of the current situation, I have also become interested in questions surrounding bringing embodied pedagogies into the digital classroom. How can we construct an embodied classroom and incorporate embodied pedagogies in the digital classroom?
Molly Mignault, MA Student
I am an MA student in the Department for the Study of Religion pursuing a collaborative degree with the School of Environment. My interests include the role of religio-legal approaches to environmental conservation and protection of sacred natural sites in South Asia, Buddhist environmental activism and Buddhist environmental ethics.
My teaching resources interests include:
- Buddhist thought and waste theory
- Buddhist engagement with the natural world
- Buddhism environmental activism
- Digital collection of maps exploring global sacred natural sites
- Online mental health tools for students and teachers
- Resources to promote student engagement in online courses
Amber Marie Moore, Ph.D. Candidate
I have an MA in Religion and Culture, and my area of specialization derives from both my BA in Buddhist Philosophy and Himalayan Languages and my current Ph.D. research on the logic of localized literary genres in the hermeneutics of reception; specifically a Newar Buddhist narrative localized in Sankhu Nepal, the Maṇiśailamahāvadāna.
My teaching resource interests include:
- providing digital materials that introduce students to a wide range of lived and academic non-Eurocentric perspectives on: Buddhist pilgrimage; Buddhist images; Buddhist philosophy; Buddhist ritual and manuscript related activities.
- providing opportunities for students to explore the significance of performative storytelling, movement and maṇḍala creation practices -past and present- across Asian traditions.
- exploring alternate and innovative forms of participative pedagogy which encourages students to be actively engaged in their own learning processes, both from their home and in the classroom. For example: allowing for the preparation of special occasion foods, preparing religious offerings, enacting narrative literature, or allowing for oral debates on open ended questions with no “right” or “wrong” answers.
With online and in-person learning, I have experienced an overabundance of passive listening and fact based response, activities that may be interesting, but quickly become tiring. Offering options for creative learning and learning about or participating in lived religions, can make a course more relevant, challenging, fun and lighthearted, leading to an increasingly healthy academic lifestyle for students and increased student satisfaction.
Rachelle Saruya, Ph.D. Candidate
My dissertation focuses on fourteen Myanmar-Burmese Buddhist nuns, their experiences with education and monastic training, and their spaces of choice/convenience that help mediate these practices.
Online resources I am interested in include:
- Pāli/Burmese Buddhist texts
- Online lectures/documentaries/articles that focus on Theravada Buddhism, Abhidhamma, gender and Buddhism, children/youth and Buddhism, meditation and medicine in Theravada Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism in the diaspora, anthropology of Buddhism, pedagogy in teaching Buddhism.
Andrea Wollein, Ph.D. Student
My dissertation explores the encounter of Newar, Tibetan and Theravāda Buddhism in a Newar Buddhist monastery in Lalitpur, Nepal, and focuses on the relationship between traditional Newar Buddhist vihāra architecture and multi-traditional Buddhist practice.
Some of the online resources I am interested in include:
- Teaching materials: museum resources on South Asian and Himalayan Buddhist art and architecture; videos and social media info on the contemporary uses of Buddhist shrines, nunneries and monasteries; interactive maps; academic online encyclopedias
- Health & Wellbeing: Helpful videos which instruct on simple exercises to perform when sitting for long stretches at the computer; reflections on what to consider when optimizing your environment; inspirational notes on how to create a comfortable space that fits your needs (minimal effort & low/no cost)
- Digital citizenship: basic introduction to digital humanities & digital literacy; useful free online tools/apps (multimedia storytelling tools, data visualization apps, project management tools, etc.)
- Digital archives of Buddhist rituals, artwork, and photos in Southeast Asia.
Annie Heckman, Ph.D. Candidate
My dissertation research focuses on a 14th-century Tibetan digest of Buddhist monastic legal narratives for nuns. I am interested in gathering teaching resources related to manuscript and textual studies, social history in the study of Buddhism, Buddhist visual cultures, and collaborative methods for translating, writing, publishing, and distributing findings from remote teaching and research contexts.
Andrew Harris, Ph.D. Candidate
My dissertation explores the spatial-religious transition between Brahmano-Buddhist temple worship and Theravada Buddhist construction of vihara in the medieval Cambodian capital of Angkor, investigating the relationship between traditions of urban planning and religious place-making as products of social memory embedded in the built environment which transcend specific religious practices.
I’m interested in exploring the following online resources:
- Teaching materials: historical, religious, and archaeological archives from South and Southeast Asian religious complexes; education through the use of online maps and interactive resources such as Google Street View; combining different Buddhist streams of study such as philology and anthropology in order to teach and promote interdisciplinary collaboration.
- Health: promoting mental health awareness as part of all curriculums and teaching dossiers; providing greater access to physical activity/exercise resources for students and staff who are indoors in isolation
- Digital citizenship: promoting STEM-based education in the humanities; increasing access to coding software and tutorials; using social media to promote education and virtual tourism; constructing a digital resume.