This essay describes the Jivaka Project, a pedagogical experiment undertaken at a public liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia. A multi-year ethnographic survey of Buddhist healthcare in the greater metropolitan area, this project has come to constitute a major part of my general education course on American Buddhism. As I argue, this project serves as a model for student-centered, engaged, and inclusive approaches to pedagogy. It is particularly notable for centering the intercultural competency of international and first-generation Asian American students. I discuss how this project was inspired by a bilingual Chinese American student; how it developed into a large-scale effort involving about a hundred students in ethnographic research in Philadelphia’s Asian American neighborhoods; how it was a transformational educational experience for a diverse group of participating students; and how in the process it pushed my pedagogy in a more relevant and personally fulfilling direction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Religious studies