Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice
The idea of globalatinization, introduced by Derrida and developed by Arvind-Pal Mandair, helps in assessing the adequacy of concepts, paradigms, and language hitherto used to translate the lives of Buddhist nuns. The introduction argues that the moral practices (sīla) of nuns cannot be articulated in terms of liberal notions of empowerment, agency, and autonomy, and it raises questions about the meaning of gender, renunciant identity, and “status” in scholarly narratives about nuns. By invoking Gayatri C. Spivak’s ideas about the inaccessibility of subaltern speech and proposing that female renunciants see themselves as being beyond gender, the introduction suggests that feminist frameworks for interpreting nuns’ lives are misplaced. It presents the three themes of the book--narrative, identity, and empowerment--and summarizes the central arguments of the chapters.
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