David (Max) Moerman F'19

David (Max)  Moerman
Professor
Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures
Barnard College

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies 2019
Professor
Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures
Barnard College
Buddhism as Social Practice: Talismanic Oaths and Divine Retribution in Premodern Japan

This book-in-progress asks how Buddhist materials and methods constructed the bonds of trust and obligation necessary for political, juridical, military, economic, and sexual relations in premodern Japan. It challenges previous scholarship by viewing these relations as overlapping fields of practice, with a common corpus of Buddhist documentary and ritual forms and shared networks of meaning and agency. In arguing that the rules of truth and evidence in religion, law, economy, and sexuality were mutually informing in premodern Japan, this project seeks to resituate Buddhism within the history of social institutions, and Buddhist Studies within the study of social history.