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Pyrrhic Constitutionalism? Buddhism, Secularism and the Limits of Law in Sri Lanka - SAC

341 Eggers Hall

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Benjamin Schothal
Associate Professor of Buddhism and Asian Religions
University of Otago
New Zealand

Of the seven countries in South and Southeast Asia with majority-Buddhist populations, six give special status and/or protections to Buddhism in their constitutions. These constitutional prerogatives give clear symbolic prestige to the majority religion. Yet what effects do such prerogatives have on the ways in which citizens understand and practice Buddhism in their daily lives? In this talk, I consider this and other questions in the context of Sri Lanka—a country that, for the last four decades, has given Buddhism “the foremost place” in its constitution.

Sponsored by the South Asia Center, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University College of Law, and Department of Religion.

For more information, please contact Emera Bridger Wilson,

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