Ocean of Milk, Ocean of Blood

A Mongolian Monk in the Ruins of the Qing Empire

A Zoom talk by Prof. Matthew King (UC Riverside)

Friday, January 22, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (Pacific Time)

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After the fall of the Qing and Tsarist empires, amid nationalist and socialist upheaval, Siberian, Mongolian, and Tibetan Buddhist monks in the frontiers of the Soviet Union and Republican China faced a chaotic and increasingly uncertain world. Drawing on ten years of research into otherwise lost Buddhist monastic writing produced during Asia’s first socialist revolution, Matthew King reveals an unexplored landscape of countermodern Buddhisms that briefly flourished in Asia’s heartland before a wave of state violence arrived in 1937. Who was made invisible in the invention of national peoples, territories, histories, and religions that directed such violence? How does contemporary scholarship on modernization in Asia and on transnational Asian religions reproduce such erasures? Attending to hybrid, countermodern Buddhist movements, King shows, displaces contact with European tradition as the primary trope for understanding twentieth-century Asian religiosity and opens new analytic territory for the study of Buddhist and modernist formations.

Matthew King is Associate Professor of Transnational Buddhism and Director of Asian Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His book Ocean of Milk, Ocean of Blood (Columbia University Press, 2019) was recently awarded the American Academy of Religion's 2020 Excellence in the Study of Religion: Textual Studies book award and the Central Eurasian Studies Society's 2020 Best Book in History and Humanities. 

Advance registration required

Cost : Free and open to the public

Jennifer Jung-Kim


Sponsor(s): Center for Buddhist Studies, Asian Languages & Cultures