Professor Deeg is specialising in Buddhist history and the spread of Buddhism from India to Central Asia and East Asia. He has a special interest in Buddhist narratives and their role and function for the construction of historical identities in Buddhist communities. He is also interested in other religions in the wider Asian context (Hinduism, Jainism, Daoism, Manichaeism, Eastern Christianity) and in the history of research and its impact on academic narratives about Asian religions. His latest monographs to be published will be one on Buddhist foundation myths and a German annotated translation of the Sino-Christian inscription of Xi'an from the 8th century. He is currently working on an new English translation and an extensive commentary of the Xiyu ji, the "Records of the Western Regions", by the Chinese monk Xuanzang (7th century). Prof. Deeg is member of several academic and editorial boards.
Deeg will be visiting the University of Georgia to present the talk Between Normativity and Material Emptiness: Indian Buddhist Monasteries in Chinese Travelogues.
This lecture will address the odd fact that the “description” of Indian Buddhist monasteries in Chinese texts are rather concentrating on the communal and/or individual aspects of monastic life than on the institution of the monastery and its materiality. These records are therefore, quite naturally, closer to the idealized image of a monastery and the life therein than to the material reality as, partly at least, represented through archaeological evidence. Although not restricting itself to it, the lecture will discuss this this issue with a focus on the work of the Chinese traveler, translator and Vinaya-specialist Yijing.
Co-Sponsered by the UGA Center for Asian Studies, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science