China and Inner Asia
Religion Studies Department / Asian Studies Program
Lehigh University, United States
The roundtable’s goal is to encourage integration of Himalayan art and culture into liberal arts curricula, expanding their inclusion in Asian Studies courses. The region’s prominent role as a crossroads of cultural exchange between South, Central, and East Asia and a diverse transnational space challenges our understanding of geo-political dynamics. The Rubin Museum’s new initiative, Project Himalayan Art, seeks to remedy the underrepresentation of Tibetan and Himalayan culture and the lack of introductory resources for teaching about the region by developing three integrated components: a broad-reaching publication, freely accessible online resources, and a traveling exhibition. Using these innovative tools, educators can incorporate Himalayan culture in courses within diverse institutional settings. The project’s strategy is to work with faculty to create content for teaching on Asia within a wide range of disciplines, including history, religion, art, and anthropology, offering material to enrich existing curricula. We will explore the Project’s pedagogical opportunities and consider how instructors with and without prior experience teaching about Himalayan culture might utilize these tools in their classes.
Project Himalayan Art is informed by a Humanities Advisory Group and an Exhibition Advisory Group, scholars from a range of academic disciplines and area specializations. Karl Debreczeny will introduce the publication, an object-centered introduction to Himalayan art and material culture from Neolithic to contemporary times with a focus on cross-cultural exchange. Elena Pakhoutova will introduce Himalayan Art: Journeys of Discovery, a flexible, scalable exhibition as an entry point to the integrated components of the project, the publication and the digital platform. Andrew Quintman will consider the pedagogical significance for undergraduate teaching of Himalayan religious traditions of incorporating visual and material culture in a setting valorizing literary materials, using the publication and a digital humanities project The Life of the Buddha.. Wen-shing Chou will address her teaching experience of incorporating the Rubin’s exhibitions, publications, and online platforms into courses on art history and religion, and the Project’s potentials for deeper engagement with objects. Annabella Pitkin will discuss curriculum design and classroom methodologies for using the Project’s tools in introductory and advanced level undergraduate classes.