Associate Professor of Religious Studies Pamela D. Winfield participated in a lecture and book-signing event at The Japan Society in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies Pamela D. Winfield spoke at The Japan Society in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, as part of a joint lecture and book signing with co-editor Steven Heine of Florida International University.
The evening event, entitled “Finding Zen: Uncovering Meaning in Art and Artifacts,” was moderated by award-winning novelist, filmmaker and Zen priest Ruth Ozeki of Smith College. It was held in the newly renovated Lila Acheson Wallace auditorium of the prestigious 110-year old cultural institution and drew approximately 200 ticket-holding audience members.
Winfield spoke on her first monograph “Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism: Kūkai and Dōgen on the Art of Enlightenment,” published by Oxford University Press in 2013 and awarded the AAS-SEC Book Prize in 2015. Her talk deconstructed Zen’s reputation for wholesale iconoclasm by examining the iconic images associated with the 13th-century Zen master Dōgen.
Heine then spoke about their co-edited volume “Zen and Material Culture,” published by Oxford University Press this year, and highlighted the sticks, staffs, canes, rods, fly whisks and other “instruments of mass instruction” that serve as symbols of Zen monastic authority and authenticity.
Ozeki then led a discussion of their work and examined such issues as materiality vs. materialism, artistic representations of enlightenment, the intimacy of Zen robes and other Zen matters before Winfield and Heine signed their books during the lobby reception.
The one-hour program can be viewed on the Japan Society website: https://www.japansociety.org/webcast/finding-zen-uncovering-meaning-in-art-and-artifacts