[WSMDiscuss] New book: "The Irish Buddhist: the Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire"
johnholloway at prodigy.net.mx
Wed Apr 1 00:08:42 CEST 2020
Amazing, Laurence, congratulations!
Warmest greetings, John
From: WSM-Discuss <wsm-discuss-bounces at lists.openspaceforum.net> on behalf of Laurence Cox <Laurence.Cox at mu.ie>
Reply-To: Discussion list about emerging world social movement <wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net>
Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 4:13 AM
To: Discussion list about emerging world social movement <wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net>
Subject: [WSMDiscuss] New book: "The Irish Buddhist: the Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire"
Dear comrades, comp at s, friends and colleagues –
With Alicia Turner and Brian Bocking I’ve spent ten years working on a rather different kind of social movement story, published today by Oxford University Press as The Irish Buddhist: the Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire.
The book tells the story of U Dhammaloka, an extraordinary Irish emigrant, sailor, and hobo who became one of the first Western Buddhist monks and an anti-colonial activist in early twentieth-century Asia. Born in Dublin in the 1850s, Dhammaloka energetically challenged the values and power of the British Empire and scandalized the colonial establishment of the 1900s. He rallied Buddhists a dozen countries across Asia, set up schools, published on a grand scale, and defeated Christian missionaries—using Western atheist arguments. He was tried for sedition, tracked by police and intelligence services, and died at least twice. His story illuminates the forgotten margins and interstices of imperial power, the “plebeian cosmopolitanisms” of colonial Asia, and the complexities of anti-colonial and religious social movements.
Too often, the story of the pan-Asian Buddhist revival movement and Buddhism’s remaking as a world religion has been told “from above,” highlighting scholarly writers, middle-class reformers, and ecclesiastical hierarchies. By turns fraught, hilarious, pioneering, and improbable, Dhammaloka’s adventures “from below” highlight the changing and contested meanings of religion as a mobilising force in colonial Asia. This story offers a window into many worlds of ethnic minorities and diasporas, transnational networks, poor whites, and social movements. Dhammaloka’s dramatic life rewrites the previously accepted story of how Buddhism became a modern global religion, and provokes us to think about the “lost futures” of Asian decolonisation.
The ebook version is published today, March 31st (most formats, around £20/€25/$25). The hardback is currently scheduled for publication on April 20th (N America) / May 28th (Europe); you can preorder physical copies via OUP at a 30% discount (£18.19 / $27.97) with the promo code AAFLYG6.
"This is an extraordinary book. The authors have painstakingly tracked down scraps of evidence of U Dhammaloka's life from across continents, often in the most unlikely of places, and have succeeded in piecing together a wealth of information to reveal an unlikely and likeable hero. The result is not simply a gripping story. It is an education into the lives, ingenuity, and resilience of the usually undocumented, ordinary people living precarious lives on the margins of society across the globe at the height of Empire. It retraces the extensive networks of cooperation they formed in common cause for survival and a dignified life against a backdrop of extraction, exploitation and misrepresentation. This is a history of those who usually have no voice in its writing, a history that dismantles the civilizing myths of colonialism."
-- Kate Crosby, Professor of Buddhist Studies, King's College, London
"With notable tenacity and thoroughness, the authors trace the wandering career of the first European convert Buddhist monk, U Dhammaloka. Recounting the life of the fascinating twentieth-century working-class Irishman turned Burmese Buddhist monk, the authors bring into sharp relief the ways in which currents of intellectual, religious, and economic change made Buddhism a global tradition in an age of migration, colonization, and empire in Asia."
-- Richard M. Jaffe, Director of the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute and Professor of Buddhist Studies, Duke University
"Among the early European converts to Buddhism, we think of Madame Blavatsky, Alexandra David-Neel, and Ananda Metteyya. But there were many more, perhaps none more intriguing than the Irishman U Dhammaloka. Drawing on some impressive detective work, the authors here paint a fascinating picture-more than a sketch, less than a portrait-of this shape-shifting Buddhist monk. In the process, they provide many insights into fin-de-siècle Buddhism."
-- Donald Lopez, Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, University of Michigan
"This groundbreaking study rewrites our understanding of the first Westerners to embrace Buddhism as a living faith. The authors offer a vivid portrait of a working-class Irishman in colonial Burma for whom Buddhism was not just a personal spiritual quest but a radical social and political practice."
-- Stephen Batchelor, author of Secular Buddhism and After Buddhism
You can follow the project at https://dhammalokaproject.wordpress.com/ or @DhammalokaU on Twitter.
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