Presenter: Neal Apel (Confirmation milestone seminar)

This thesis seeks to answer the question: how do violence and perceptions of inimical forces shape Buddhist identity in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand? This question is approached in three ways. Firstly, by exploring the history of relations between Buddhist institutions and state power in these countries. Specifically, this section focuses on how religion and politics have shaped each other in these cases, and how Buddhism has been reformulated in the modern period. Secondly, I explore the justifications and mandates for violence in Buddhist texts. Thirdly, I analyse modern manifestations of violence and the political rhetoric of Buddhist extremists. This third approach seeks to establish to what extent modern Buddhist extremism extends beyond ‘religious nationalism’.

Image via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


Forgan Smith Building (1),
St Lucia campus