Northwestern Events Calendar


Ben Schonthal: Methods Master Class

When: Friday, October 19, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Gina Giliberti  

Group: Global Politics and Religion Research Group

Category: Academic


Master Class on Research Methods for the Study of Religion and Law


Dr. Benjamin Schonthal (Associate Professor of Buddhism and Asian Religions, University of Otago, New Zealand Visiting Scholar, Global Politics & Religion Faculty Research Group Buffett Institute at Northwestern)

This 90-minute masterclass considers research methods used in the study of religion and law. The class is open to any student or faculty member whose research touches on this theme. It is also open to those working in cognate or related fields (e.g. anthropology of law, politics or religion). While the discussion will be tailored to the specific needs and methods of those who attend, we will also think broadly about the variety of research techniques available to scholars of religion and law, from archival work, to ethnography, to interviewing, to the design and analysis of surveys. The benefits and challenges of multi- and mixed methods research will also be addressed.

Participants should come to the masterclass ready to discuss their own research projects and having completed the assigned readings (contact for details)

Benjamin Schonthal received his Ph.D. in the field of History of Religions at the University of Chicago, where his dissertation received the 2013 Law & Society Association Dissertation Award. Ben's research examines the intersections of religion, law and politics in late-colonial and contemporary Southern Asia, with a particular focus on Buddhism and law in Sri Lanka. Ben's first book, Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law: The Pyrrhic Constitutionalism of Sri Lanka, appeared with Cambridge University Press in 2016. His current research project, supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand, looks at the history, politics and contemporary practices of Buddhist monastic law in Southern Asia.

Readings (Required):

Schonthal “Law” in Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion. Steven Engler and Michael Strausberg (eds.). New York: Oxford University Press, 2016: 365-81.

Portions of survey concerning the legal attitudes and preferences of Buddhist monks (to be handed out in the class).

Readings (Suggested): Davis, Don “Centers of Law: Duties, Rights and Jurisdictional Pluralism in Medieval India” in Legalism, Paul Dresh and Hannah Skoda (eds.). New York Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. 85-113.

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