We are happy to announce the publication of our Review Symposium on José Ignacio Cabezón’s Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism(Wisdom, 2017) in Religion, vol. 49, 2019.
The review symposium includes:
Introducing a symposium on Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism
Pages 717-722 | Published online: 08 Oct 2019
This article introduces a review symposium on Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism. I situate this book in the newly emerging field of Buddhism and sexuality, and also provide a discussion of previous works by the author that led to the current volume under review. I also provide a broad overview of the book itself for those unfamiliar with the work. The responses in this symposium are offered by Sarah H. Jacoby (Northwestern University), John Powers (Deakin University), and Amy Paris Langenberg (Eckerd College).
In search of a queer Buddhist theology
This review article celebrates the massive contributions José Ignacio Cabezón’s Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism has made to the fields of Buddhist studies, South Asian studies, and studies in gender and sexuality. After introducing the vast scope of Cabezón’s masterwork, the article draws attention to Cabezón’s notably minimalist treatment of tantra, which he asserts did no more to challenge the denigration of queer people than exoteric Buddhism did. Even so, this article picks up on the possibility Cabezón puts forward, if only hesitantly, that Mahāyāna antinomianism and tantra have the (as yet unrealized) potential for a queer Buddhist theology, with the aim of inviting further scholarship on this potential.
Reading against the grain: female sexuality in classical South Asian Buddhism
Responding to and building upon José Cabezón’s groundbreaking work, Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism (2017), this essay challenges a hermeneutic that capitulates to the androcentrism and misogyny of classical South Asian Buddhist views on female sexuality by suggesting avenues for ‘reading against the grain’ in search of alternative gynocentric views. In particular, it points to glimpses of a female sexuality that is relational, active, and creative in premodern South Asian Buddhist sources, especially vinaya. It also argues that a full and balanced treatment of sexual violence against women is an essential component of any comprehensive study of sexuality in classical South Asian Buddhism.
Indian Buddhist concepts of normative and deviant bodies: can ancient sexual mores be reconciled with modern sensibilities?
Pages 735-744 | Published online: 08 Oct 2019
José Cabezón’s Sexuality in Classical South Asian Buddhism is the most comprehensive study to date of early Indian Buddhist notions of sexuality and gender. This article is a response to Cabezón’s work that critiques some of his ideas and raises further questions for research into this still nascent field.
Hindsights: a response to Professors Jacoby, Powers, and Langenberg
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies