Northwestern Events Calendar


Lecture 2: Professor Brooke Schedneck, "Disciplining Bodies: Surveilling Monasticism in Contemporary Thailand"

When: Friday, December 16, 2022
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Joshua Shelton  

Group: The Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Studies Lecture Series

Category: Academic


In contemporary Thailand, a significant topic of discussion is monastic behavior. Transgressions of appropriate monastic appearance and physical comportment are omnipresent in Thai media. Major monastic scandals involving sex, drugs and money, as well as minor, everyday scandals of misbehaving monks appear regularly in Thai media outlets. One significant form of inappropriate behavior for male monks is femininity. Effeminate or kathoei monks have generated considerable public discourse concerning Thai Buddhist monasticism. I label this regulation by Thai Buddhist laity onto male monastics as the Thai Buddhist lay gaze. In order to explore the ways laity seek to discipline monastic bodies, I will be using analysis of Thai media from 2010-2021, a survey I conducted during June-July 2021 of 60 Thai lay Buddhist participants, and critical theory on discipline and surveillance. My findings indicate that although the trust between monks and laity appears to be breaking down, confidence remains in the Buddhist teachings and necessity of support for the religion. 

Dr. Brooke Schedneck is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College.

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