This course introduces a wide variety of ideas and practices that have at one time or another been labeled as Daoist (or "Taoist" in the Wade-Giles Romanization), in order to sort out the different senses of the term, and consider whether these ideas and practices have had any common features. We will begin with the two most famous Daoist works--the Zhuangzi and the Daodejing (or Laozi). We will also survey other bio-spiritual practices, such as the meditational techniques of Inner Alchemy and the self-cultivation regimens known today as Qigong and Tai-chi, as well as the theological and ritual foundations of organized Daoist lineages, many of which are still alive across East Asia. We will conclude with a critical review of the twentieth-century reinvention of "Daoism," the scientization of Inner Alchemy, and the new classification of "religious" versus "philosophical Daoism." While familiarizing ourselves with the key concepts, practices, and organizations developed in the history of Daoism, this course emphasizes the specific socio-political context of each of them. Throughout the course, we will think critically about the label of "Daoist" (as well as "Confucian" and "Buddhist") in Chinese history and in modern scholarship. We will also question modern demarcations between the fields of philosophy, religion, and science.
Section 401 - LEC
TR 1200PM-0130PM