SOAS University of London

Department of Religions and Philosophies

Women in Buddhism

Course Code:
Course Not Running 2016/2017
Unit value:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 2

This course looks at some of the differing representations of women in Buddhist traditions, in canonical, post-canonical and exegetical sources; from epigraphy and archaeology; in historical writings of the distant and recent past; current affairs and modern gender studies. Other than in allowing women to be visible, this course does not have a specific gender agenda, although issues of power, authority, marginalisation and silence, of reverse readings and of impositions of agenda will inevitably surface (or be suppressed!).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate familiarity with a range of portrayals of women in Buddhism throughout history and the modern period across different Buddhist traditions; give detailed accounts with their historical, literary, cultural and social contexts of such portrayals and analyse such materials and developments concerning women within Buddhism using appropriate methodologies, theories and critiques.


2 hours a week of seminars/tutorials

Method of assessment

Coursework: One 3000 word essay (50%);one 1000 word commentary on an extract or book review (20%);one 15 minute presentation (15%);one class-time quizz (15%)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules