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Buddhist Nuns and Gendered PracticeIn Search of the Female Renunciant$
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Nirmala S. Salgado

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199760022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199760022.001.0001

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Decolonizing Female Renunciation

Decolonizing Female Renunciation

(p.21) 1 Decolonizing Female Renunciation
Buddhist Nuns and Gendered Practice

Nirmala S. Salgado

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1, like the two succeeding chapters, centers on narrative constructions of the lives of Buddhist women. Talal Asad’s ideas about consciousness, agency, and modern power, as well as notions about the colonial construction of religion critiqued by scholars including Timothy Fitzgerald and Tomoko Masuzawa help in questioning narratives about gender and renunciation in Buddhism written by Rita Gross, Tessa Bartholomeusz, and Wei-Yi Cheng. The chapter argues that their narratives reinscribe the politics of colonial thinking and liberal feminism, thereby oversimplifying the conditions of the lived lives of Buddhist women and producing a narrative disjunction. It then advocates attending to questions that are important in the daily lives of renunciants, without grounding such questions in a self-evident rhetoric about some emancipatory political “status.”

Keywords:   narrative disjunction, colonial, status, gender, renunciation, consciousness, power, agency

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