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Film Webinar: Keepers of the Faith

March 4 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Film Webinar 


Friday 4 March 2022 at 4-6pm (BST)

Event takes place on Zoom. Please register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIuce2rqjMiG9PUkCN0T2lzH_CX4lhvd4Ba


From our archives – 
Keepers of the Faith: The Buddhist Nuns of Sagaing Hills

1996 / 51 minutes

With Prof Hiroko Kawanami (Lancaster University) and Rachelle Saruya (University of Toronto)

As part of ongoing efforts to preserve and upgrade our archival film holdings, this seminar is based around a newly digitised version of a remarkable film directed by Hiroko Kawanami (Professor of Buddhism and Society, Lancaster University, UK).

In 1986 the filmmaker lived for 15 months as a nun in the Thameikdaw Gaung nunnery in the Sagaing Hills in Upper Myanmar, which is twelve miles west across the Irrawaddy River from the ancient capital Mandalay. In the early 1990s she returned for another visit to see what has changed. This film was made during this second visit to the nunnery. Made at a time when there was limited access for foreigners to spend time in the country, the film is an intimate journey into the religious practices and everyday lives of the people in Myanmar through the eyes of Buddhist nuns.

The film is part of an impressive body of widely published scholarship and ongoing research on the religious and social standing of nuns in Myanmar that Prof Kawanami has pursued over the last 30 years. With an emphasis on the empowerment of women and an analysis of gender relations within Myanmar’s monastic communities, Prof Kawanami has shown how nuns stand in-between the religious and the secular and play a vital role in mediating the two worlds in her monograph Renunciation and empowerment of Buddhist nuns in Myanmar-Burma: building a community of female faithful (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013).

This seminar will provide an opportunity to Prof Kawanami to introduce the film to new audiences as well as look back and consider the impact the film has made over the last 3 decades. We will be joined by scholar, Rachelle Saruya, who has also conducted research amongst Buddhist nuns in Myanmar.

Keepers of the Faith is now available on DVD and VoD from the RAI Film Catalogue.



March 4 2022
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category: