Altenburg, Gerjan is a graduate student at the Department of Religious Studies, McMaster University with a research interest in Indian Buddhist monastic literature extant in Sanskrit and Tibetan.
Beaudoin, Crystal is a graduate student at the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University. She is interested in ideas about death and the afterlife in Chinese religious and philosophical thought. Of particular interest to her are the Chinese “Ghost Festival,” ghost stories and representations of mortuary rituals in Chinese literature.
Butterfield, Julian is an MA student in Religious Studies, interested in the poetics and technologies of East Asian Esoteric Buddhist ritual. His current research project considers how standard elements of Esoteric empowerment such as ritual space, presence, and vision are understood and developed by contemporary, digitally savvy agents to accommodate their increasingly transnational, multilingual audiences.
Collins, Casey is a PhD candidate in Asian studies at the University of British Columbia. His research’s focus is on religious movements in East Asia during the 20th century. His work examines sociological and cognitive approaches to religious studies, charismatic religious leaders, ritual, and the cultural evolution of religion. Casey also assists with event planning and website curation for The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhism and Contemporary Society at UBC.
Duoer, Daigengna completed her Master degree in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. She is interested in Buddhist practices in Mongolia during the Qing dynasty and the religious and political relationships between Mongolia, Tibet and the Manchu court. Her projects concern the modern and contemporary history of religion in Inner Mongolia and the role Buddhism played in the formation of political and cultural identities.
Ellsworth, Jason WM is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University and is a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Prince Edward Island in both the Religious Studies and Sociology & Anthropology Departments. His current and past research interests include the study of Food & Food Movements, Theories of Value, Buddhism in North America, Political Economy, Marketing, Transnationalism, Orientalism, and the Sociology & Anthropology of Religion.
Emory-Moore, Christopher is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo. His research explores householder/renouncer relations in transnational Buddhism with a focus on the sociology of Vajrayana movements in North America. In 2012 Christopher defended a MA thesis at the University of Calgary examining the Tibetan ritual of Guru Yoga and its contemporary practice by Euro-North Americans.
Fardelos, Larissa is a doctoral student in the Department for the Study of Religion in collaboration with the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto. She specializes in the Vajrayana Buddhist traditions of Northeast India and Nepal with a particular interest in explicitly gendered religious texts and women’s participation in ritual and practice. Larissa’s research investigates the application and interpretation of medieval texts within contemporary religious communities, utilizing both anthropological methods as well as primary text interpretation.
Gandhi, Rutika is currently a Master’s student in the Department of Religious Studies, at the University of Lethbridge. Her study and research interests include space and place, Buddhist modernism, globalization and transnationalism, spiritual and heritage tourism, and the branding of Buddhism in India. More specifically, her current research focuses on the revival of Buddhism in India, and the influx of pilgrims and tourists at the sites of Sarnath and Bodhgaya.
He, Shuyue is completing her BA (Hon) in philosophy at McGill University. She wants to pursue her MA in Chinese Studies directly after graduation. She is grateful for the opportunity of contributing to the CJBS News Blog.
Heckman, Annie is a doctoral student in the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. After receiving her MFA in Studio Art (New York University, 2006), Annie spent several years working in the visual arts as an educator, artist, and designer, teaching at DePaul University (Visiting Assistant Professor 2011–2014) and at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Art & Dialogue specialist 2008–2015). Examining certain Tibetan texts as part of her studio research, Annie studied Tibetan language through the University of Chicago’s Graham School before relocating to Toronto to pursue further studies. She has since received the Dipty Chakravarty Award for excellence in the study of South Asian Society, History, and Culture, and the Phool Maya Chen Award in Buddhist Studies. Her research focuses on the agency of non-humans in Tibetan life literature.
Jones, Ryan is a doctoral candidate in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University. His research interests include Tibetan Buddhist historiography and its use in constituting religious lineages. His current research examines the formation of the Surmang Kagyu lineage in eastern Tibet during the sixteenth century.
Le, Ngoc completed her BA in International Studies at Simon Fraser University.
Li, Jingjing is a PhD candidate at McGill University. She mainly works on three areas: the Yogacara philosophy of consciousness, Buddhist studies, and Husserl’s phenomenology.
Mitchell, Maggie is a Master’s student in the Asian Studies department at the University of British Colombia. Her research examines the creation and rebuilding of sacred Buddhist sites in China.
Moevus, Adrien is a Master’s student at McGill University in the faculty of Religious Studies. He works on Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, and focuses primarily on the writings of the Indian saint Maitripa.
Moore, Amber is a Ph.D student in the field of Buddhist Studies with an emphasis on the intersection of narrative literature, ritual and visionary landscape. She holds a BA in Buddhist and Philosophy and Himalayan languages from Kathmandu University and an MA in Religion and Culture. She is currently interested in engaging an intercultural approach in her research on epistemic culture and on the corpus of Newar, Tibetan, Nepali and Sanskrit literature related to Vajrayoginī in Nepal and Tibet and is inspired to discover more compelling questions than definitive answers in this area. She has lived for several years in Tibet and Nepal with her family, and is also collaborating with The Asian Institute at the Munk school of Global Affairs for her project.
Pirbhai, Hassan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary, and is currently pursuing a post-graduate degree in Natural/Biological Sciences at his alma mater. Hassan has authored writings under the CJBS Numata Speaker Series, and is also studying Zen Buddhism under the tutelage of Dr. Wendi Adamek, who is the Numata Chair at the University of Calgary.
Scott, Tony is currently a PhD student at the University of Toronto. His scope of study extends from dinosaurs to bodhisattvas, and includes postcolonial literary theory, Theravāda civilizations and Burmese religious histories. With a background in philosophy and literature, Tony is currently focusing on the critical philology of controversial texts in broad historical and political contexts. He also welcomes discussion on all things Pali, especially as it relates to questions of canonicity, monastic reform and modernity.
Shi, Xian’ao is a doctoral student in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research interest is the history of Chinese Buddhism in the early modern period.
Shing, H.S. Sum Cheuk completed his MA at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on medieval Chinese religions, specifically the practices of Buddhism and Daoism. He is particularly interested in the parallels and intersections between these two traditions, especially the visual and material culture of ritual materials. His work also seeks to engage with broader methodological and theoretical concerns in ritual studies, visual culture, and religious history.
Simoes-Gomes, Austin is an MA student at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion. He works in two areas: Newar Buddhism, more specifically on the phenomenon of goddess mediums in the Kathmandu Valley, and on embryological and abortion narratives in Buddhist sources and contemporary communities.
Stenzel, Julia is a PhD candidate at the School of Religious Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, in the field of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism.
Weishar, Mitchell is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Religious Studies at McMaster University. His current research interests lie in issues concerning Buddhist women in contemporary Japanese society.
Widaatalla, Nahid is currently pursuing her BSc in Anatomy and Cell Biology with a minor in International Development at McGill University. Her interests include global health and traditional medicine.
Williams-Oerberg, Elizabeth is a Postdoc scholar and the Co-Director of the newly established Center for Contemporary Buddhist Studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. She works as part of a collaborative research project on ‘Buddhism, Business, and Believers in Asia and Beyond’ with Trine Brox (PI). They have received funding from the Carlsberg Foundation and the Danish Research Council (FKK) for their project which extends to the year 2020. Her individual research project is on spiritual tourism and the branding of Buddhism in Ladakh, India. She has a PhD in Anthropology from Aarhus University where, as part of a larger research project on ‘Buddhism and Modernity’, she wrote her PhD thesis “Young Buddhism: Examining Ladakhi Buddhist Youth Engagements with Migration, Modernity and Morality in India” which highlights the particularly prominent role that youth play in forwarding contemporary transformations of Buddhism.
Zhao, Shan Shan (Alice) a M.A. student in the Religious Studies Department at McMaster University. She is interested in the topics of suicide and violence, especially self-immolation, in medieval Chinese Buddhism. More specifically, she is interested in the social and political issues related to Buddhist self-immolation and the interpretations from different groups at that time, including the monastic communities and the government.
1. Affiliated Authors:
Joffe, Ben P. is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research interests focus specifically on the anthropology of Tibet and Tibetan diaspora. His doctoral dissertation research is concerned with the ways in which the esoteric knowledge and charisma of Tibetan non-celibate professional renouncers and Tantric ritual specialists (Tibetan: sngags.pa/ma སྔགས་པ/མ) are being mediated, circulated, appropriated and contested in light of the increasing globalization of Tibetan Buddhism, and drives to make legible a Tibetan nation and to preserve and reform Tibetan culture in exile. He is interested in how sngags.pa and sngags.ma engage institutional and other forms of authority in exile, and the ways in which the expertise, charisma and activities of such specialists can be said to contribute to the forging of particular moral orders and imaginaries in situations of dislocation, change and uncertainty.
Payne, Richard K. is Dean and Yehan Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley.
Purser, Ron is Professor of Management in the College of Business and the Educational Doctorate in Leadership program in the College of Education at San Francisco State University. His scholarship currently focuses on mindfulness in organizations, and how Buddhist psychology and Buddhist social theory can inform social change and transformation.
Thomas, Jolyon B. is an Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses on Japanese religion, pop culture, and history. His research covers the politics of religious freedom; religion and material and visual culture; religion and education; religion and capitalism; and relationships between religion, sex, and gender. Jolyon is also an editor of the Asian Traditions section of the Marginalia Review of Books and a regular contributor at Sacred Matters.
2. Independent Scholars:
Ng, Edwin describes himself as a postcolonial “Western Buddhist” convert because, even though he was born and raised in Singapore where he was exposed to the Buddhist customs of his diasporic Chinese ancestral heritage, he only embraced Buddhism after he migrated to Australia and discovered Western translations of the teachings. His interest in the cultural translation of mindfulness is motivated by the lived tensions of straddling multiple cultural and intellectual traditions, and of attempting to cultivate mindfulness to support scholarship, pedagogy, and activism within and against an increasingly corporatized academic regime.
Sugunasiri, Suwanda H. J. is formerly of the Faculty of Divinity, Trinity College, University of Toronto, and Founding Editor/Editor Emeritus of the Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies.