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REL 356 Death and the Afterlife in Chinese Religions (3 credits)

How do people die? Where does a "good death" take place? What constitutes homicide? Suicide? Righteous violence? How can the living manipulate the experiences of the already dead? What relationship do these parties share? In this course on death and the afterlife in Chinese religions we will pursue answers to these types of questions through the examination of diverse primary and secondary source materials. During the semester we will study the practices and beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife associated with four religious traditions: Confucianism, Daoism, Chinese "folk" or "popular" religion, and Buddhism. The class aims to enhance students’ appreciation of the diversity that exists between and within these religions. At the end of the semester, the successful student will not only be able to describe beliefs and practices related to death and the afterlife in these traditions but will also be able to explain how these are shaped by the social, economic, and political contexts of their propagation. Religious Difference, Non-Western Studies