Buddhist East Asia:   The Interplay of Religion, the Arts and Politics

An NEH Summer Institute ~ May 28 to June 22, 2018 ~ Honolulu, Hawaii ~ Hosted by the Asian Studies Development Program

Buddhist East Asia:  The Interplay of Religion, The Arts and Politics
An NEH Summer Institute

Click here to edit subtitle


The Institute will be hosted in Honolulu, Hawai‘i on the adjacent campuses of the East-West Center (EWC) and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM). Located in Mānoa, one of the most beautiful valleys in all the Hawaiian Islands, the EWC and UH combined are home to the largest concentration of Asia specialists in the US, with over 350 scholars in the humanities and social sciences who offer more than 600 courses a year focused on Asian cultures and societies. The UHM School of Pacific and Asian Studies is home to four relevant area studies centers: the Center for Chinese Studies (57 full-time affiliate faculty), the Center for Japanese Studies (37 faculty), the Center for South Asian Studies (49 faculty) and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (35 faculty). Each of these centers is among the largest of similarly-focused National Resource Centers in the United States.


The East-West Center is a public, non-profit research and educational institution established in 1960 with a U.S. Congressional mandate to promote better relations and understanding among the nations of Asia, the Pacific and the United States through cooperative study, training and research. The Center’s international mission is to contribute to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community through cooperative research, education, and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States.  In Hawai‘i, the Center’s 21-acre campus is located contiguous to the University of Hawai‘i on the Diamond Head side of East-West Road.  The Center also maintains two branch offices: one in Washington, D.C. that helps to increase understanding of the region among Congress and other key audiences, and one in Beijing, China. To date, more than 55,000 students and research professionals have participated in Center programs. The Center considers professional development programs for K-12 teachers, college and university faculty, and journalists an integral part of its community building mission.


Participants in the Institute will have official visitor status at both the East-West Center and the University, which will grant full access to libraries and sports facilities. The UHM Hamilton Library has a total collection of more than 4 million print volumes, including over 1 million volumes in its world-class Asia Collection that includes materials in both Asian languages and English. The UHM Sinclair library has an extensive collection of video and audio recordings, including both documentary and feature films.


Institute participants will be taken on a guided tour of the Buddhist art exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art. The HMA has over 35,000 art objects in its collection, including collections of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and Southeast Asian (primarily Thai, Indonesia and Cambodian), as well as Pacific Islands, Western and Hawaiian arts exhibits. In addition, program participants will find it possible to visit a wide range of Buddhist temples and study groups that will offer first hand experiences of Buddhist practices and institutions, including  temples from various Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Tibetan lineages.