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Dr. Jann Ronis: The Buddha in the Cloud: The Ethical, Political, and Technical Challenges of Preserving the Buddhist Canon in the Digital Age
October 30, 2018, at 11 a.m.
Jann Ronis is a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and completed his PhD at the University of Virginia in 2009. His dissertation was about the history of a large monastery and Buddhist academy in eastern Tibet, located on one of the major trading routes linking Tibet to China. More recently his research has explored contemporary Tibetan literature. After completing his PhD he held postdocs in Paris and UC Berkeley. He taught at the latter for 7 years until becoming the executive director of the Buddhist Digital Resource Center in 2018.
The Buddhist Digital Resource Center is one of the most productive, socially conscious, and innovative organizations at the intersection of cultural preservation and the digital humanities. It curates the largest database of images of Buddhist writings in Asian languages and a comprehensive and detailed online catalog of the Buddhist canons. Open access is a founding value of BDRC and it is widely used by monks and nuns, translators, and scholars free of charge. The organization currently has 3 major field operations – in Tibet, Mongolia, and Thailand – in which it partners with local preservationists and social entrepreneurs to access, digitize, and catalog archives that are endangered and/or previously undocumented. It is developing its next generation platform based on Linked Open Data and also advanced tools for data analytical investigations into a multi-lingual corpus of Buddhist e-texts in Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan. This presentation will introduce the challenges faced by BDRC in the field and in the lab, including technical hurdles, and the ethical and political predicaments involved in doing cultural preservation in China. It will also provide the audience with a tour of the major archives or Buddhist texts across Asia and also introduce them to the broader field of Buddhist digital initiatives.
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Limited seating (60 spaces). We will not accept requests for a block of reserved seats for groups.
Each person/couple attending needs to RSVP for CONFIRMED seating. Light refreshments to follow.
This event is a joint effort with the Chinese Language and Culture Program at New College of Florida.