The Grey Matters

The Use and Abuse of East/West Taxonomies


  • Sarah F. Haynes Western Illinois University





In my 2013 Bulletin blog post on the categorization of religious traditions as eastern or western I focused on my work as an academic studying Tibetan Buddhism in North America and my experiences teaching eastern religions to students at a post-secondary institution in the United States. Expanding on my earlier contribution, here I focus my attention on the challenges and responses related to the east/west taxonomies in the context of my research and teaching.

Author Biography

Sarah F. Haynes, Western Illinois University

Sarah F. Haynes is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Western Illinois University.


Anand, Dibyesh. 2000. “(Re)imagining Nationalism: Identity and Representation in the Tibetan Diaspora of South Asia.” Contemporary South Asia 9: 271–87. doi:

Dorjee, Tenzin, and Howard Giles. 2005. “Cultural Identity in Tibetan Diaspora.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 26 (2):: 138–57. doi: http://

Haynes, Sarah F. 2010. “A Relationship of Reciprocity: Globalization, Skillful Means, and Tibetan Buddhism in Canada.” In Wild Geese: Studies of Buddhism in Canada, edited by John S. Harding, Victor So?gen Hori, and Alexander Soucy, 321–45. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

———. 2012. “The Re-Imagination of Tibet: Ritual Adaptation in the Tibetan Diaspora.” In Re-imagining South Asian Religions: Essays in Honour of Professors Harold G. Coward and Ronald W. Neufeldt, edited by Pashaura Singh and Michael Hawley, 155-–70. Leiden: Brill.

———. 2014. “Shaping Images of Tibet: Negotiating the Diaspora through Ritual, Art, and Film.” In Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhisms in Canada, edited by John S. Harding, Victor So?gen Hori, and Alexander Soucy, 287–309. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Iwamura, Jane Naomi. 2011. Virtual Orientalism: Asian Religions and American Popular Culture. New York: Oxford Un



How to Cite

Haynes, S. (2015). The Grey Matters: The Use and Abuse of East/West Taxonomies. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 44(2), 8–10.