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Avoiding the Bloody Pond: Women's Bodies in Modern Taiwanese Religion
Monday, 12 Mar 2018
10:20 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
303 International Center
Asian Studies Center
Event Details:
The idea of a hell for women arose in Song-dynasty (960-1279) China with the advent of the Blood Pond Hell, a place where women would be posthumously punished for offending the gods with the blood of menstruation and childbirth. Buddhists and Daoists performed rituals to save women from this fate, and such rites are still performed in parts of mainland China and Taiwan. One text used for these rites in modern Taiwan is the Precious Blood Bowl Repentance, which discusses the female body in extremely negative terms. This talk examines how the image of the female body in the Precious Blood Bowl Repentance relates to understandings of female bodies in modern Taiwanese religion more broadly.
Megan Bryson is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research focuses on Buddhism and local religion in the Dali region of southwest China as well as the themes of gender and ethnicity in Chinese religions. Professor Bryson has published several articles on these topics in journals such as Asian Ethnology, Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her monograph Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. She spent the 2016-17 academic year on an ACLS fellowship to work on a new project on Buddhist networks in the Dali Kingdom.