Michael Chladek, "The Dangers of 'Too Much': How Novice Monks Learn to Manage Space, Time & Emotion in a Northern Thai Buddhist Temple"

This paper focuses on adolescent boys (usually around 12 or 13 years old) in northern Thailand who ordain as Buddhist novice monks for several years in order to finish their secondary education at a Buddhist temple. Based on 20 months of ethnographic field research in a village in Chiang Mai province, I trace how new novice monks learn to not overdue monastic strictness by learning to manage the emotions of others and adjusting their behavior to “time and place” (kalatessa). I argue that this emotional management is not only an important aspect of ideal moral personhood in northern Thailand, it is also a way in which monks and novices construct regional identity and a unique northern Thai Buddhism.

Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 5:00pm
Foster 103