Governing the Monastic Order. a Comparative Exploration of Traditional Sangha-Laws in Pre-Modern Laos and Their Transformations Under Colonialism

Collaborative Group

Dr. Patrice Ladwig, Dr. Gregory Kourilsky


History of Religion


This project examines texts and laws that concern the governance and administration of the sangha in Laos during the pre-modern and the colonial period (19th century – 1953). First, it will explore how legal and religious concepts borrowed (directly or not) from India were adapted to pre-modern Buddhist Lao kingdoms. Secondly, research will examine modern colonial legislations for controlling and administering the sangha in the French Laos. Synthesizing the results and focusing on the concept of ‘localization’, the ruptures and continuities of Buddhist law making under different political regimes will be explored. By combining textual analysis with historical methods and theories, broader conclusions will be drawn from comparisons with other Theravada cases in South and Southeast Asia.