WMU News

Experts address Asian study of religion

September 29, 1998

KALAMAZOO--How Asian scholars study their religion and the role the body and self-mutilation plays in those religions will be the focus of a series of presentations by an Asian religions expert Oct. 7-9 at Western Michigan University as part of its Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.

Dr. Randall L. Nadeau, an associate professor of religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, will present a free public lecture, "Blurred Boundaries: Asian Religious Studies in the Post-modern Century," at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in Room 1030 of the Lee Honors College.

"Western cultures have been into studying their own religions for many years, but Dr. Nadeau's research explores how Asian scholars, particularly those in mainland China and Taiwan, approach the study of religion," says Dr. David Ede, WMU professor of religion and coordinator for Nadeau's visit. According to Ede, Nadeau has explored this topic for many years, producing unique, original research which he will discuss in his presentations.

A specialist in Asian studies, particularly Chinese religions, Nadeau has published research on popular religious literature, deity cults, and folk religions of both China and Japan, as well as methodology in the study of folk religion and Buddhism. Nadeau is currently conducting research on self-mutilation in Chinese popular religion and will present a seminar on "Rituals of Self-Mutilation: Body as Religious Object in Asian Traditions" at 9 a.m. Thursday in Room 1032 of Moore Hall.

Other lectures planned during Nadeau's visit include: "Tips on Teaching Chinese Religion" at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Room 224-5 of Moore Hall; and an informal seminar on the study of Asian Religions at noon Friday, Oct. 9, also in Room 224-5 of Moore Hall. Visitors are welcome at all presentations.

Nadeau, who received his doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia and his master's degree from Princeton University, has been at Trinity University since 1990. He formerly taught at San

Jose State University and the University of British Columbia and spent a semester in 1988 teaching at WMU.

Nadeau's visit is being coordinated by the Department of Comparative Religion and sponsored by the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. For more information about his visit, persons should contact Ede at (616) 387-4396.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. James M. Hillenbrand, professor of speech pathology and audiology.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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