Debate Prompt Chinese and Japanese Religions
- Ben Van Overmeire (see profile)
- Buddhism, Chinese religions, Comparative politics, Confucianism, Daoism, Debate, Japanese religions, Teaching and learning in higher education
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- legalism, shinto
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- Over the course of the semester, we will organize three class debates. Debates between Confucians, Daoists, and Mohists, and, later on, Buddhists, were not uncommon in premodern China, and some of these are documented in the historical record. The purpose of these debates was to show that the religion in question was the best choice for the empire: one had to convince the emperor and his council of the usefulness of said religion in governance. In return, of course, the emperor would lavish support on this religion, at times leading to major changes (and, for some, catastrophes). In class, we will re-enact such debates. Students will divide into three groups (of 5 people each). Each session, two groups will argue against each other, while the third acts as an imperial council that decides who carries the day. With three sessions in total, every group will get a chance to act as the imperial council.
- Used in a class on Chinese and Japanese religions I taught at St. Olaf College in Spring 2017.
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