Cultural Studies and Matters of Faith: The Case of DhammaWheel.com

Edwin Ng

Abstract

This article begins with the premise that cultural studies has neglected questions about religion and faith. Through an analysis of a discussion in an online Buddhist forum whereby the participants debate the issue of faith vis-a-vis knowledge, the paper explicates how Buddhism negotiates dominant cultural formations and evolves against various contexts of social struggles. The analysis also reveals how the participants articulate a vernacular theory of faith to rethink the relationships between reason, religion, faith, knowledge, and ethics. The article demonstrates how an engagement with a religious discourse elucidates themes that are of interest to cultural studies’ critical project, and argues that cultural studies has an ethical responsibility to engage with religion and address matters of faith.

Keywords

Buddhism; religion; faith; knowledge; ethics; vernacular theory

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