Monday, January 23, 2017

A distant view of hills

"Not to scale: On sacred mountains" starts tomorrow! I've been dithering with the syllabus, especially once I decided that syllabus ought to have illustrations! I haven't felt the need to illustrate since "Aboriginal Australia and the Idea of Religion" six years ago. That's not the only similarity I'm noticing with that earlier class. Then, too, I was aware of the oddity (to put it mildly) of a course on a territory so remote and, from where we are, inaccessible except in imagination - not to mention taught by me! But there's a difference, too, which you can see in the choice of images. Where those sought to give the word to Aboriginal people, this one is shaped by my experience as a visitor to Kailash. Some of the images are religious, but almost all are images constructed by people far from the mountains (like the photoshopped Mount Fuji); some are not even mountains, like that by Yang Yongliang below.). When it comes to sacred mountains, you might not have to be there to know them. In any case, the only knowledge we'll be having access to is that which isn't tied to direct experience of the mountaineering sort.

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