Rethinking Early Western Buddhists: Beachcomers, 'Going Native' and Dissident Orientalism


Cox, Laurence (2013) Rethinking Early Western Buddhists: Beachcomers, 'Going Native' and Dissident Orientalism. Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 14 (1). pp. 116-133. ISSN 1463-9947

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Abstract

Recent research on the life of U Dhammaloka and other early western Buddhists in Asia has interesting implications in relation to class, ethnicity and politics. ‘Beachcomber Buddhists’ highlight the wider situation of ‘poor whites’ in Asia—needed by empire but prone to defect from elite standards of behaviour designed to maintain imperial and racial power. ‘Going native’, exemplified by the European bhikkhu, highlights the difficulties faced by empire in policing these racial boundaries and the role of Asian agency in early ‘western’ Buddhism. Finally, such ‘dissident Orientalism’ has political implications, as with specifically Irish forms of solidarity with Asian anti-colonial movements. Within the limits imposed by the data, this article rethinks ‘early western Buddhism’ in Asia as a creative response to colonialism, shaped by Asian actors, marked by cross-racial solidarity and oriented to alternative possible futures beyond empire.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the preprint version of the original published article, which is available at DOI:10.1080/14639947.2013.785242
Keywords: Early Western Buddhists; Orientalism; U Dhammaloka; colonialism; class; ethnicity; politics;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
Item ID: 4403
Depositing User: Dr. Laurence Cox
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2013 15:12
Journal or Publication Title: Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: No
URI:

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