The global pandemic forces us all to adjust aspects of our thinking to make sense of it, to reschedule aspects of our lives, and to discipline our actions and interactions. Though these experiences are universal, their content varies across the world. Comparing our experiences of the pandemic with those of others can make us more aware of the uniquenesses, as well as the limitations of our own understandings, adjustments and protective practices. This talk invites students to learn about and engage with specifically Buddhist responses to COVID-19, based on examples from Asia as well as the West.


Jonathan Walters
George Hudson Ball Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Religion

Jonathan Walters is professor of religion and George Hudson Ball Endowed Chair of Humanities. He teaches courses on Buddhism, Hinduism and comparative topics. His research is focused on ancient Buddhist texts, South Asian history, and contemporary Sri Lanka, where he conducts regular fieldwork in a rural Buddhist village.

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COVID-19: A Liberal Arts Approach to the Study of a Global Pandemic was created in the spring of 2020 as a special one-credit course for Whitman College’s most newly admitted students, offering them an opportunity to get to know our distinguished faculty and to study a significant event in human history.