Pregame Showcase Features Expert on Ghosts in Buddhism

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Rachelle-ScottBefore the Vols vs. Gamecocks football game on Saturday, fans are invited to some pre-Halloween ghost stories from Thailand, as part of the College of Arts and Science Pregame Showcase.

“Haunted Bangkok: Angry Spirits, Buddhist Power, and Popular Media in Thailand,” features Rachelle Scott, associate professor of religious studies, who will talk about the role of ghosts and other supernatural beings in Theravada Buddhism and how these stories continue to impart ethical lessons to Buddhists across Asia and around the world.

Now in its twenty-fourth season, the Pregame Showcase gives fans the chance to hear from esteemed UT faculty prior to each gridiron matchup. This week’s showcase will be held at 10:01 a.m.

Free and open to the public, each showcase features a thirty-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question-and-answer session. Presentations begin two hours before kickoff in the Carolyn P. Brown University Center Ballroom (Room 213). A brief reception will be held immediately following each program. Door prizes will be awarded.

For centuries, Buddhists have linked particular forms of rebirth—such as rebirth as a god, human, animal, ghost, or hell-being—to the karmic laws of cause and effect.

“Stories of angry and restless spirits, in particular, have captured the attention and imagination of Buddhists over the past two millennia, as they offer poignant commentaries on the perils of greed, hatred, and delusion, and these tales inhabit the streets, the temples, and the cinemas in contemporary Bangkok,” Scott said.

Rachelle Scott studies the history of Theravada Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on contemporary Buddhism in Thailand. Her first book, Nirvana for Sale? Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakaya Temple in Contemporary Thailand, examines contemporary debates over monastic and lay wealth in Thailand. Her current research focuses on stories of powerful female ascetics and spirits, the impact of new media on religious authority and community, and the role of the Buddhist sangha, or monastic community, in global Buddhism. Scott is also the co-editor of the journal Fieldwork in Religion.

Here’s the lineup for the rest of the season:

November 9—”Making the Cuts: Austerity Policies and Their Social Implications.” Jon Shefner, head of the department of sociology, will look at the effects of spending cuts, tax hikes, and other measures governments use to reduce their budget deficits during adverse economic conditions.

November 23—”Simulations of Solutions: Solving Problems Through Scientific Computing.” Steven Wise, associate professor of mathematics, will discuss the evolution of scientific computing and look at the challenges that lie ahead, including how we might—and might not—be able to solve some of our biggest problems with the help of computers.

C O N T A C T :

Lynn Champion (865-974-2992, champion@utk.edu)

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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