THRG History

2016 San Antonio

The Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group (co-)sponsored 3 sessions:

Books under Discussion
Presidential Theme: Revolutionary Love
Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Love and Liberation (Columbia University Press, 2014): Reflections on Sarah Jacoby’s Study of Sera Khandro
Benjamin Bogin, Skidmore College, Presiding
Sunday – 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Grand Hyatt-Republic B (4th Level)

Anne C. Klein, Rice University
Annabella Pitkin, Lehigh University
Kurtis Schaeffer, University of Virginia

Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University

Tantric Studies Group and Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Imagination and Visualization in Tibetan Buddhist Literature
Nancy Lin, Vanderbilt University, Presiding
Monday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Grand Hyatt-Republic B (4th Level)

Joel Gruber, University of San Diego
When a Warm Heart Turns Cold: A Re-Imagination of Scholarly Interpretations of Tibetan “Fiction”

Vesna Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara
Imagination, Desire, and Aesthetics in Engendering the Vision of Śambhala

Matthew King, University of California, Riverside
Visions of Sovereignty in Late-Imperial Tibetan and Mongolian Travel Literature

Daniel Hirshberg, University of Mary Washington
A Yogin’s Retirement: Visionary Tourism in Nyang ral’s Twilight Years

Michael Sheehy, Harvard University
The Magical Realism of Guru Chowang (1212-1270)

Jacob Dalton, University of California, Berkeley

Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Cosmos, Language, and Local Practice: New Research in Tibetan and Himalayan Religions
Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University, Presiding
Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Grand Hyatt-Travis B (3rd Level)

Eric Huntington, Princeton University
Cosmological Murals at the Entrance to Sacred Spaces: The Bhavacakra and Cakravāla in Tibetan Buddhism

Natasha Mikles, University of Virginia
Karmic Reservations and Resolutions: Narrative Imagination and Ethical Formation in Gesar’s Descent through Hell

Rachel Pang, Davidson College
Emanation as Simile: The Literary Imagination in Shabkar’s Nine Emanated Scriptures

Jann Ronis, University of California, Berkeley
Cosmopolitan Compassion: The Category of the Imagination in Lama Tenzin Gyatso’s (b.1968) Elaboration of a Modernist Buddhist Poetics

Eric D. Mortensen, Guilford College
Religious Ambiance and the Resurgence of Local Religious Practices in the Lingering Buddhist Vacuum of Rural Tibetan Valleys of Gyalthang

Business Meeting:
Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University
Benjamin Bogin, Skidmore College


Buddhism Section
Theme: Book Session: Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet (Columbia University Press, 2015)
Jacob Dalton, University of California, Berkeley, Presiding
Saturday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Convention Center-217C (2nd Level – West)

Kurtis Schaeffer, University of Virginia
Richard Nance, Indiana University
Sonam Kachru, University of Virginia

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University

Yogācāra Studies Group
Theme: Reading the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga
Joy Brennan, Kenyon College, Presiding
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Grand Hyatt-Mission A (2nd Level)

Pierre-Julien Harter, University of Chicago
First Things First: The Genre of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga

Dian Denis, Laval University
The Structure of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga and Kārikā and Its Use of the Notion of Support

John Y. Cha, Gustavus Adolphus College
The Darśana of the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga

William S. Waldron, Middlebury College
On the Relation between “Bhājana-loka,” “Vijñapti,” and “Vāsanā” in the Dharmadharmatāvibhāga and Its Commentaries

Jingjing Li, McGill University
What is Abūta-parikalpa? Debates on the Authenticity of Dharmadharmatāvibhāga in Early Modern China

Business Meeting:
C. John Powers, Australian National University
Roy Tzohar, Tel-Aviv University

Religion and Science Fiction Group
Theme: Speculative Fiction Dreaming It Is Religion? Or Religion Dreaming It Is Speculative Fiction?
David McConeghy, Chapman University, Presiding
Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Convention Center-304B (3rd Level)

Jeffrey Durham, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Time Travel by Thankga: How Tibetan Art and Narrative Traditions Shift Time and Alter Identity

Religion in South Asia Section
Theme: Praise Poetry across South Asian Religious Traditions
Patton Burchett, College of William and Mary, Presiding
Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Convention Center-007A (River Level)

Hamsa Stainton, University of Kansas
Approaching Praise Poetry via Kashmir

Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection Group and Buddhist Philosophy Group
Theme: The Contemplative Context of Buddhist Philosophy
David Fiordalis, Linfield College, Presiding
Sunday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Grand Hyatt-Republic B (4th Level)

Davey Tomlinson, University of Chicago
Vāgīśvarakīrti’s Strictly Verbal Initiation: How Tantric Practice Can Become Rational Inquiry

Yaroslav Komarovski, University of Nebraska
Buddhist Philosophy and Contemplation: In Search for the Common Ground

John Dunne, University of Wisconsin
Replacement or Suspension: Two Theories of Philosophical Practice

Karin Meyers, Kathmandu University
The “Damned” Topics of Buddhist Philosophy, Their Contemplative Context, and the Future of Our Practice

Richard Nance, Indiana University

Tantric Studies Group
Theme: Comparative and Constructive Work in Tantric Studies
Gudrun Bühnemann, University of Wisconsin, Presiding
Sunday – 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Marriott Rivercenter-Conference Room 2 (3rd Level)

Rita Sherma, Graduate Theological Union
“To the Pure, All Things are Pure”: Śakta Tantra and Constructive Social Ethics

David P. Lawrence, University of North Dakota
Pratyabhijñā Thought, the Pluralistic Philosophy of Religion, and the Evolution of Semiotic Freedom

Ben Williams, Harvard University
Thinking with Abhinavagupta about Education: Interdisciplinarity in a Context of Religious Pluralism

Mark Schmanko, Rice University
The Generative Interplay of Emic and Etic Modes in the Modus Vivendi of Tantric Scholars

John Nemec, University of Virginia

Buddhism Section and Religions in Chinese and Indian Cultures: A Comparative Perspective Group
Theme: Trans-Regional Dynamics in Buddhist Cultures
Amy P. Langenberg, Eckerd College, Presiding
Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Convention Center-301B (3rd Level)

Brandon Dotson, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Coincidence, Contingency, and Tendrel: Buddhism and Divination in Early Tibet

Christina A. Kilby, James Madison University
Humanizing the Divine Childhood: Child Tulku Mentorship through Letter Writing in Tibetan Buddhism

Benjamin Wood, St. Francis College
Searching for the Right Buddha: Contesting Tulku Candidates in the Ocean Annals of Amdo

Buddhism Section
Theme: Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Tibetan Protector Deities
Alison Melnick, Bates College, Presiding
Tuesday – 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Convention Center-302B (3rd Level)

Unregistered Participant
The Twelve Acts of Rudra: Buddha’s Mythic Inversion

Christopher Bell, Stetson University
Tsiu Marpos: How a Tibetan Protector Deity Possesses Multiple Identities

Natasha Mikles, University of Virginia
Ideological Narratives: A Rimé Challenge to Geluk Power through King Gesar in Hell

Buddhist Philosophy Group
Theme: Narrative and Philosophy in Buddhism
Unregistered Participant, Presiding
Tuesday – 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Convention Center-304C (3rd Level)

C. W. Huntington Jr., Hartwick College
The Autobiographical No-Self

Sonam Kachru, University of Virginia
A Life Dreamed, the Traumatized Titan, and the Forest Decimated in Anger: Of the Stories Philosophers Tell, and Why

Sara L. McClintock, Emory University
The Inescapability of Narrative in Buddhist Philosophy

Focus on Sustainability
Religion in South Asia Section and Religion and Ecology Group
Theme: Religion, Landscape, and Ecology in South Asia
Carla Bellamy, City University of New York, Presiding
Tuesday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Convention Center-007A (River Level)

Dean Accardi, Connecticut College
Kashmir’s Religious Nature: Siting Shrines in the Sacred Landscape

Comparative Theology Group and Roman Catholic Studies Group
Theme: Comparative Theologies of Creation: Engaging Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’
Bede Bidlack, Saint Anselm College, Presiding
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Convention Center-007B (River Level)

Thomas Cattoi, Graduate Theological Union
Laudato Si’ and a Broader Vision of Reality: Theologies of Purified Vision in Theodore the Studite and Bokar Rinpoche

2015 Atlanta

The Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group (co-)sponsored 4 sessions:

Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Female Lives and Narratives in Tibet: New Materials and New Perspectives
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Marriott-A705 (Atrium Level)

Micheal Sheehy, Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
The Bibliographic Scope of Buddhist Women Literati in Tibet

Jue Liang, University of Virginia
Garland of Seven Strands: An Early Corpus of Yeshé Tsogyel’s Hagiographies

Elizabeth Angowski, Harvard University
Intimate Relationships in the Early Lives of Yeshé Tsogyel

Alison Melnick, Bates College
Female Authority and the Lives of Women in Eighteenth Century Tibet: Reading Hagiography as History

Holly Gayley, University of Colorado
Situating Female Religious Authority: Gender, Genre, and Geography in Eastern Tibet

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University

Business Meeting:
Benjamin Bogin, Skidmore College
Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University

Tantric Studies Group and Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Ritual (and) Practice in Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism
Sunday – 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Marriott-L508 (Lobby Level)

Rae Erin Dachille-Hey, University of California, Berkeley
Tantric Ritual and the Problem of Imagination

Patricia Sauthoff, University of London
Controlling Death to Control Perceptions: Understanding How Kashmir Śaiva Death Rituals Lead to Social Influence

Michael Reading, Claremont School of Theology
Brahmacharya in Focus: Tantric and Advaita Vedantic Perspectives on the Spiritual Utility of Celibacy

Religion and Popular Culture Group and Religion and Science Fiction Group and Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group and Yoga in Theory and Practice Group
Theme: (Re)presentations of Science and Yogic Religion in Pop Culture
Monday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton-Grand Salon B (Level 2)

Anna Pokazanyeva, University of California, Santa Barbara
The Turbaned Superman: Popular Depictions of Yogi Figures and the Shift to a Scientific Universalism

Joel Gruber, University of California, Santa Barbara
Tibetan Yogic Practices in the Batman Epic: The Dark Yoga of the Dark Knight

Adam Krug, University of California, Santa Barbara
“I’ll See You Again in Twenty-Five Years:” Tibetan Buddhism in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and in American Pop Culture in the 90s

Paul G. Hackett, Columbia University
The Future Is Not What It Used To Be: Religion, Yoga, and Tibet in Star Trek and Doctor Who

Rex Barnes, Columbia University
The Implied Spider-Man: Transcreating Religious Imagery, Symbol, and Meaning in Spider-Man India

Jane Naomi Iwamura, University of the West

Buddhism Section and Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Tibetan Teachers, Tibetan Performers: Can Performance Theories Help Us Understand Buddhist Pedagogical Practices?
Tuesday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Marriott-A702 (Atrium Level)

Joshua Schapiro, Fordham University
Performative Framing and Reflexivity: Patrul Rinpoche’s Teachings about Teaching

Elizabeth Monson, Harvard University
The Performance of Truth Telling: Spiritual Transformation in the Writings of Drukpa Kunle (1455-1529)

Annabella Pitkin, Lehigh University
Dazzling Displays and Mysterious Departures: Bodhisattva Pedagogy as Performance in the Biographies of Two Twentieth Century Tibetan Buddhist Masters

Ryan Jones, McGill University
Performativity and Personhood between Teachers and Students in Tibetan Buddhist Preliminary Practices (Sngon ‘Gro)

Other sessions related to Tibetan and Himalayan Religions:

Dharma Academy of North America (DANAM)
Theme: Icons, Imagery, Imagination
Neelima Shukla-Bhatt, Wellesley College, Presiding
Friday – 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
Marriott-International 2 (International Level)

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, University of San Diego
Imagining Enlightenment: Icons and Ideology in Tibetan Buddhist Practice

Arts Series
Theme: Mandala Sand Painting Opening Ceremony
Saturday – 8:30 AM-9:00 AM
Marriott-Imperial B (Marquis Level)

Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will construct a Mandala Sand Painting from Saturday, November 21, 8:30 am-Monday November 23, 6:30 pm.

The mandala sand painting begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. This is done by means of chanting, music and mantra recitation, and will be held on Saturday, November 21 at 8:30 am.

The closing ceremony will be held on Monday November 23, at 6:30 pm.

Buddhist Critical–Constructive Reflection Group
Theme: Buddhist Responses to Religious Pluralism
Francisca Cho, Georgetown University, Presiding
Saturday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton-302 (Level 3)

Douglas S. Duckworth, Temple University
Buddhism and Beyond: The Question of Pluralism

Rachel Pang, Davidson College
The Contemporary Relevance of Shabkar’s (1781-1851) Response to Religious Pluralism

Buddhism Section
Theme: Formations of Doctrine in Buddhist Modernity
Jason Josephson, Williams College, Presiding
Saturday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Marriott-International 2 (International Level)

Holly Gayley, University of Colorado
Padmatsho, Sichuan Nationalities University
Buddhist Modernism and Ethical Reform on the Tibetan Plateau: New Articulations of Non-Violence

Contemplative Studies Group
Theme: Listening Closely: Toward an Interdisciplinary Ethnographic Neuroscience of Contemplative Practice
Jeffrey C. Ruff, Marshall University, Presiding
Saturday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton-Grand Ballroom C (Level 2)

Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Emory University
Contemplative Science, Secular Ethics, and the Lojong Tradition: A Case Study

Jeffrey Stephen Lidke, Berry College
The Potential of the Bi-Directional Gaze: A Call for Neuroscientific Research on the Activation of the Autonomic Nervous System through Tantric Practice

Holmes Welch and the Study of Buddhism in Twentieth-Century China Seminar
Theme: Prescriptive Ideals (Sectarian and Institutional) in Holmes Welch’s Work on Chinese Buddhism
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Hyatt-222 (2nd Level)

Wei Wu, Princeton University
Distinction and Inclusiveness: The Rise of A Tibetan Esoteric School in Anti-Sectarian Trends in Republican China

Religion and Ecology Group
Theme: The Religion and Politics of Sacred Space
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Hilton-Crystal BE (Level 1)

Luke Whitmore, University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point
Understanding the Destructive Dance of Nature

Chris Crews, The New School
Sumak Kawsay, Pachamama, and Cosmopolitics: The Rights of Nature, Earthbound People and Global Indigenous Struggles

African Diaspora Religions Group and Indigenous Religious Traditions Group and Native Traditions in the Americas Group
Theme: Decolonization through Therapeutic and Culinary Practices
Sunday – 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Hyatt-Roswell (Atlanta Conference Level)

Natalie Avalos Cisneros, University of California, Santa Barbara
Healing as Liberation: Native American and Tibetan Decolonization

Buddhism Section and Buddhist Critical–Constructive Reflection Group and Buddhist Philosophy Group and Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Group
Theme: Women And Buddhist Philosophy
Sunday – 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Marriott-A704 (Atrium Level)

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, University of San Diego
Buddhist Women’s Ways of Knowing: Gender and Philosophical Analysis in the Tibetan Tradition

Constance Kassor, Smith College
Rhetoric and Marginalization through a Tibetan Buddhist Perspective

Buddhism Section
Theme: Books and Bodies, Caves and Technologies
Sunday – 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Marriott-International 9 (International Level)

Eric Huntington, Princeton University
Creating Universes: Divergent Ritual Cosmologies in Nepalese and Tibetan Contexts

Contemplative Studies Group and Mysticism Group
Theme: Mystics and Contemplatives in the Academy Today: Religious Experience from the Outside In and Inside Out
June McDaniel, College of Charleston, Presiding
Sunday – 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Marriott-International 3 (International Level)

Anne C. Klein, Rice University
Lola L. Williamson, Millsaps College
Christopher Chapple, Loyola Marymount University
Barbara A. B. Patterson, Emory University
Jay Michaelson, Chicago Theological Seminary
Frederick Colby, University of Oregon
Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University

Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection Group and Moral Injury and Recovery in Religion, Society, and Culture Group
Theme: Buddhist Approaches to Moral Injury and Recovery
Christopher Ives, Stonehill College, Presiding
Monday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton-Grand Ballroom C (Level 2)

Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Emory University
Theoretical and Practical Resources of the Tibetan Lojong (Blo Sbyong) Tradition for Addressing Moral Injury

Jennifer Wade, Boston College
Mind Training Informed by the Transformational Anger of Judith Butler as Resource to Support Recovery from Moral Injury

Science, Technology, and Religion Group
Theme: Technology and the Sacred
Sarah Fredericks, University of Chicago, Presiding
Monday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Hilton-401-402 (Level 4)

Yasmin Cho, Duke University
Taking Photos of Sacredness: Technology, (In)Visibility, and the Production of Sacredness in the Practice of Tibetan Buddhism

Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and Society for Hindu-Christian Studies
Theme: Thomas Merton at 100: His Influence on the Study of Hinduism and Buddhism
George Kilcourse, Bellarmine College, Presiding
Monday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Marriott-M104 (Marquis Level)

Judith Simmer-Brown, Naropa University
Communicating In Depth: Merton’s Practice Dialogue with Tibetan Buddhism

Buddhist Philosophy Group
Theme: Siddha-Scholars and Scholar-Siddhas: Tantra and Philosophy in Indian Buddhism
Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM
Hyatt-Roswell (Atlanta Conference Level)

Kammie Takahashi, Muhlenberg College
Birds and Fishes: View and Method in the Mahāyoga Texts of Buddhaguhya

Adam Krug, University of California, Santa Barbara
Philosophy and Polemics in Indrabhūti’s Jñānasiddhi

Davey Tomlinson, University of Chicago
The Tantric Context of a Philosophical Debate About Consciousness: Ratnākaraśānti’s Nirākāravāda

Alexander Yiannopoulos, Emory University
Continuity and Convergence in Epistemology and Meditation: Ratnākaraśānti’s Synthesis of Sūtra and Tantra

John D. Dunne, University of Wisconsin

Animals and Religion Group
Theme: Animals as Harbingers of Fortune, Disaster, and Power in Asian Religions
Monday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Hilton-206 (Level 2)

Brandon Dotson, Ludwig Maximilians Universität München
Wild Animals, Fortune, and the Hunt in Old Tibetan Dice Divination

Tantric Studies Group
Theme: Fear and Loathing in Samsara: a Study in Terror across Tantric Literature and Practice Systems
Monday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Marriott-L506-507 (Lobby Level)

John R. B. Campbell, University of Virginia
Awake and Terrified: Buddhist Tantric Commentators on the Subtle States of Mind at Death

David Gray, Santa Clara University
Laughing in the Face of Fear: Horror and Terror in Yoginītantras

Katarina Turpeinen, University of Virginia
Going beyond Fear: The Cutting Practices in Rindzin Gödem’s Dzokchen Anthology

Elaine Fisher, University of Wisconsin
When Tantra Becomes Orthodoxy: Samayin Śrīvidyā the Sanitization of Fear-Based Technology

Christian K. Wedemeyer, University of Chicago

Women and Religion Section and Religions, Medicines, and Healing Group
Theme: Gender, Health, and Healing: Women’s Bodies, Religious Cures, and Productions of Medical Knowledge
Monday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Hilton-205 (Level 2)

Yasmin Cho, Duke University
Buddhist Medical Nuns: Gender, Monastic Education, and the Production of Medical Knowledge in Tibetan Buddhism in Contemporary China

2014 San Diego

Contemplative Studies Group
Theme: Maps of Transformation: Ox Herding, Horse Taming, and Stages on the Contemplative Path
Saturday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM

Benjamin Bogin, Georgetown University
Taming the Elephant of the Mind in Tibet

Tantric Studies Group
Theme: Funerary Practices in Tantric Traditions
Saturday – 9:00 AM-11:00 AM

Nina Mirnig, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Saving the Unfortunates: A Tantric Rite to Rescue the Dead

Rory Lindsay, Harvard University
Necroliberation in Early Sakyapa Funerary Manuals

Buddhism Section, Tantric Studies Group, Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group, and Yoga in Theory and Practice Group
Theme: Roundtable Discussion of Christian Wedemeyer’s Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism: History, Semiology, and Transgression in the Indian Traditions (Columbia University Press, 2013)
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Gudrun Bühnemann, University of Wisconsin
David G. White, University of California, Santa Barbara
Ronald M. Davidson, Fairfield University
David DiValerio, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Christian K. Wedemeyer, University of Chicago

Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Group and Critical Theory and Discourses on Religion Group
Theme: Religion and Constructions of Violent Alterity
Saturday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Chipamong Chowdhury, University of Toronto
Genocidal Violence, Conflict, and Communalism: Anti-Buddhist Violence in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh)

Religion and the Literary in Tibet Seminar
Theme: Religion and the Literary in Tibet Seminar Year 5 of 5
Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

Andrew Quintman

Bryan J. Cuevas, Florida State University
Holly Gayley, University of Colorado

Benjamin Bogin, Georgetown University
Unregistered Participant
José I. Cabezón, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jacob Dalton, University of California, Berkeley
Brandon Dotson, Ludwig Maximilians Universität München
Unregistered Participant
David Germano, University of Virginia
Jonathan Gold, Princeton University
Janet Gyatso, Harvard University
Roger Jackson, Carleton College
Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University
Nancy Lin, Vanderbilt University
Jann Ronis, University of California, Berkeley
Antonio Terrone, Northwestern University
Unregistered Participant
Nicole Willock, University of Denver
Carl Yamamoto, Towson University

Business Meeting:
Kurtis Schaeffer

Tantric Studies Group
Theme: Out For Blood: Sacrifice, Tantra, and Normative Hinduism
Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

Xenia Zeiler, University of Helsinki
Eradicated with Blood: Text and Context of Animal Sacrifice in Tantric and Tantra-Influenced Destructive Rituals

Joel Bordeaux, Colgate University
Blood in the Mainstream: Kali Puja and Tantric Orthodoxy in Early Modern Bengal

Sravana Borkataky-Varma, Rice University
Red: An Ethnographic Study of Cross-Pollination of Vedic and Tantric in Shakta Assam

Ehud Halperin, Tel Aviv University
Between Flowers and Dead Buffaloes: Negotiating Tantric and Brahmanic Values in Contemporary Kullu Valley of the West Himalaya

Comparative Approaches to Religion and Violence Group
Theme: The Violence of Non-Violence
Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

John Soboslai, University of California, Santa Barbara
Violently Peaceful: Tibetan Self-Immolation and the Problem of the Non/Violence Binary

Women and Religion Section
Theme: Women, Embodiment, and Authority Across Religious Traditions
Saturday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

Ashlee Andrews, Indiana University
Cooking the Home: Food, Bodies, and Authority in Bengali Hindu Women’s Domestic Gastronomic Rituals

Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Monk, King, Tantrika: Negotiating Power in Tibet
Brandon Dotson, Ludwig Maximilians Universität München, Presiding
Sunday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM

Adam Krug, University of California, Santa Barbara
Pakpa Lama’s Advice to Prince Jibik Temür: Buddhist Ethics in the “Heyday of Poisons”

Jacob Dalton, University of California, Berkeley
Power and Compassion: Negotiating Buddhist Kingship in Tenth-Century Tibet

Jann Ronis, University of California, Berkeley
Jikmé Lingpa’s Epistles to the Dharma King and Queen of Dergé: Skillful Means and Classicism

José I. Cabezón, University of California, Santa Barbara
Mipam’s Vision of the Just Buddhist Ruler in His Treatise on Political Ethics

Daniel Hirshberg, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
“When I Was King…”: Memories of Sovereignty in the Construction of Enlightened Identity

Business Meeting:
Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University
Andrew Quintman, Yale University

Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Tibetan Letters, Buddhist Lives: Epistolary Approaches to the Study of Tibetan Buddhism
Benjamin Bogin, Georgetown University, Presiding
Sunday – 1:00 PM-2:30 PM

Christina Robinson, University of Virginia
Toward a Tibetan Buddhist Epistolary Standard: Letters and Buddhist Institutions

Dominique Townsend, Columbia University
Mastering the Art of Correspondence: Letters and Buddhist High Culture

Holly Gayley, University of Colorado
Buddhist Love Letters: An Exploration of Epistolary Intimacy and Tibetan Literary Style

Roger Jackson, Carleton College

Hinduism Group
Theme: Making a Hindu Saint: The Politics of Shaping Legacies
Sunday – 3:00 PM-4:30 PM

Christian Lee Novetzke, University of Washington
Vernacularizing Jnaneshwar

Patton Burchett, New York University
Remembering a Rasik: Politics and Authority in the Memory of the Bhakti

Dean Accardi, University of Texas
Making a Saint Hindu: Lal Ded, Orientalism, and Kashmir’s Religious Past

Archana Venkatesan, University of California, Davis
The Other Trinity: Music, Saintliness, and the Saurashtras of Madurai

Jonathan Loar, Emory University
From “Neither/Nor” to “Both/And”: Reconfiguring the Legacy of Shirdi Sai Baba in Hagiography

Buddhism Section
Theme: Traitors to the Buddha?: Issues in Translating Buddhist Texts
Sunday – 3:00 PM-4:30 PM

Brian Ruppert, University of Illinois
Sarah Harding, Naropa University
Richard D. McBride, Brigham Young University, Hawaii
Ryan Overbey, University of California, Berkeley

Buddhism Section
Theme: Buddhism and Capitalism: Religious Economies in Modernizing Asia
Andrew Quintman, Yale University, Presiding
Sunday – 5:00 PM-6:30 PM

James Mark Shields, Bucknell University
Rethinking “Buddhist Economics”: Foundations for a Post-Socialist Critique of Capitalism

Alexandra Kaloyanides, Yale University
Buddhist Buildings and Christian Classrooms: Land-Ownership Disputes over Religious Schools in Nineteenth-Century Burma

Matthew King, University of Toronto
Buddhist Formations during Asia’s First Socialist Revolution in Mongolia

Theme: AAR Awards Ceremony and Reception
Jack Fitzmier, American Academy of Religion, Presiding
Sunday – 7:30 PM-9:00 PM

2014 Book Awards for Excellence in the Study of Religion

Anya Bernstein. Religious Bodies Politic: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Textual Studies
Andrew Quintman. The Yogin and the Madman: Reading the Biographical Corpus of Tibet’s Great Saint Milarepa. Columbia University Press, 2013.

Buddhism Section
Theme: Buddhist Femininities: Demystifying the Essential Feminine
Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Michelle J. Sorensen, Columbia University
Feminine Identities in Buddhist Chöd

Yogācāra Studies Group
Theme: Panel Discussion of the Saṃdhinirmocana-sūtra, Chapters Seven, Eight, and Nine
Monday – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Robert M. Gimello, University of Notre Dame
William S. Waldron, Middlebury College
Chen-Kuo Lin, National Chengchi University
Jay Garfield, Yale-NUS College
A. Charles Muller, University of Tokyo

Dan Lusthaus, Harvard University

Tantric Studies Group and Yogācāra Studies Group
Theme: Tracing Threads of Tantric Inter(dis-)connectivity: An Analysis of the Exegetical Links between the Yogācāra and Pratyabhijñā Lineages
Monday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

Dan Lusthaus, Harvard University
Yogācāra Plus a Playful God Equals Kashmir Śaivism

Douglas S. Duckworth, Temple University
Yogācāra as a Bridge to Philosophical Tantra

Unregistered Participant
Truth and Dialogue: Reconfiguring the Philosophical Exchange between Trika and Yogācāra Systems

Unregistered Participant
The World within Consciousness – Once More on the Relationship between Buddhist and Śaiva Philosophical Idealisms

David P. Lawrence, University of North Dakota
Time, Moments and Momentariness in Yogācāra, Bhartṛhari, and Nondual Kashmir Śaivism

Buddhism Section and Religion and Sexuality Group
Theme: Buddhism and Sexuality
Monday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

Vesna Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara
The Making of Monastic Sexual Morality in Mongolia’s Pastoral Culture

Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University
A Dry Treatise on Passion? Reconsidering Ju Mipam’s Contribution to Kāmaśāstra Literature in Tibet

International Development and Religion Group
Theme: Faith-Based Organizations, Development, and Climate Change in the Global South
Monday – 4:00 PM-6:30 PM

Dekila Chungyalpa, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C.
Why the Environmental Movement Needs Religion

Brian K. Pennington, Elon University
Climate Change, Natural Disaster, and Anti-theodicy in the Indian Himalayas


Animals and Religion Group and Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group
Theme: Animals in Tibetan and Himalayan Religions
Tuesday – 8:30 AM-10:00 AM

Brandon Dotson, Ludwig Maximilians Universität München
The “Beloved Pair”: Horse and Man in Early Tibetan Funerals

Geoff Barstow, Otterbein University
Vegetarianism and Monasticism in the Late Tibetan Renaissance

Eric D. Mortensen, Guilford CollegeThe Very Boundaries of What It Means To Be “Human”: Monsters, the Folkloric Notion of “Half-Human,” and Othering in the Landscapes of the Tibetan Imaginary

Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan, Austin College

Buddhism Section
Theme: Buddhism in and across Borders
Tuesday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM

Xin Wen, Harvard University
Locating and Dislocating the Sacred: A Khotanese Buddhist Site and its Afterlives in Nepal and China

Yasmin Cho, Duke University
Blurring Boundaries between Names and Robes: Lay Female Renunciation Practices in Contemporary Tibetan Society

Arts, Literature, and Religion Section
Theme: Sensuous Wisdom: Artful Scholarship on Religious Art
Tuesday – 9:00 AM-11:30 AM

Miranda Shaw, University of Richmond
Dancing Words: Writing about Tantric Buddhist Dance

2013 Baltimore

Theme: Writing Tibetan Women

Kristen Muldowney, Rubin Museum of Art, “Outward Beauty, Hidden Wrath: Examining the Hagiography of the Dharma Protectress Achi Chökyi Drölma”

Sarah Harding, Naropa University, “Did Machik Lapdrön Really Teach Chöd?”

Peter Faggen, University of Chicago, “Gender, Power, and Authority: Promoting Rigdzin Palmo as Machik Lapdrön in Amdo”

Michael Sheehy, Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, Cambridge, MA, “Materializing Dreams and Omens: Narrative Devices in the Autobiographical Writing of the Tibetan Yoginī Trinle Wangmo”

Alison Melnick, University of Virginia, “The Literary Life of Jetsün Mingyur Peldrön: The 18th Century Creation of a Public Identity”

Sarah Jacoby, Northwestern University, responding

Theme: The Ambivalence of Violence

This roundtable session will raise and discuss these topics by way of responding to the book: The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism by Jacob Dalton (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011).

Panelists: Elliot Sperling, Indiana University, Bloomington,

Carl Yamamoto, Towson University

Brandon Dotson, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Jacob Dalton, University of California, Berkeley, responding

Theme: Self-Immolations in the Tibetan Buddhist World (co-sponsored with the Buddhism Section, the Body and Religion Group, and the Chinese Religions Group)

Julie Regan, Harvard University, “Burning Questions”

Jack Downey, La Salle University, “A Burnt Offering: Tibetan Self-Immolation and Mystical-Political Dharma”

Elliot Sperling, Indiana University, Bloomington, “Self Immolation as a Tactic: Reactions and Responses from within the People’s Republic of China”

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University, “Scholarship in the Face of Sadness”

James Benn, McMaster University, responding

Theme: Boarding the Maṇḍala’s Gate: An Exploration of Science Fiction Encounters with Buddhism (co-sponsored with the Religion and Science Fiction Group)

Michael Nichols, Saint Joseph’s College, “The Doctor and the Demon: Mara in the British Science Fiction Series Doctor Who”

Joel Gruber, University of California, Santa Barbara, “The Dharma of Doctor Strange: The Shifting Representations of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism within a Science Fiction Comic Serial”

Kurtis Schaeffer, University of Virginia, “To Glimpse the Minds of Stars and Nebulae: Tibetan Buddhism in the Science Fiction Novels of Olaf Stapledon”

David Germano, University of Virginia, “Tibet in Mars and Hyperion during the 1990s”

Alexander Gardner, Rubin Foundation, responding

2012 Chicago

Theme: The Maturation of the Geluk Sect: Amdo and the Qing Empire

Brenton Sullivan, University of Virginia, “Regulating Monastic Allegiance: The Imperial System of Monastic Regulation in Eighteenth Century Amdo”

Stacey Van Vleet, Columbia University, “The Medical College of Kumbum Monastery and Geluk Institutional Development within the Qing Empire”

Lan Wu, Columbia University, “Transformations of the Yonghegong and Envisioning the Empire from the Buddhist Perspective, 1722–1792″

Paul Nietupski, John Carroll University, “Religion and Politics in Eighteenth Century Amdo”

Max Oidtmann, Harvard University, “Shamanic Imperialism: The Qianlong Emperor’s Attack on Tibetan Divination Technologies and the Origins of the Golden Urn”

Theme: Tradition and Innovation in Bön: The Dynamics of Adaptation


Chris Hatchell, Coe College

Jed Verity, University of Virginia

J. F. Marc des Jardins, Concordia University

Theme: Eminent Lives in the Buddhist Traditions: Processes, Contexts, Innovations (co-sponsored with the Buddhist Section)

Suzanne Bessenger, Randolph College, “From ‘Low’ Human Woman to ‘High’ Buddhist Goddess: Thoughts on Writing, Emanation, and the Transformation of a Nomadic Woman into a Buddhist Deity”

David Quinter, University of Alberta, “Monkan, Mañjuśrī, and Wish-fulfilling Jewels: An Exploration in Textual, Visual, and Material Culture”

Cameron Bailey, Florida State University, “The Ocean of Oathbound Protectors: Political and Sectarian Boundaries in Eighteenth Century Tibet”

Jakub Zamorski, National Chengchi University, “Between Faith in Amitabha and the ‘Science of Consciousness-only’: Pure Land Thought of Tang Dayuan 唐大圓 (ca. 1890–1941)”

Derek Maher, East Carolina University, “Revival and Renewal through Reincarnation: The Bodong Tradition Then and Now”

Christopher Callahan, Harvard University, “Memorializing Shinran: Illustrated Biographies and Memorial Services”

Theme: Robert A. F. Thurman Festschrift Celebration (co-sponsored with the Buddhism Section)

Reception to present Robert A. F. Thurman with an edited volume in honor of his seventieth birthday, containing contributions by Ryuichi Abe (Harvard University), Yael Bentor (Hebrew University), Josh Cutler (Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center), John Dunne (Emory University), David Gray (Santa Clara University), Paul Hackett (Columbia University), Laura Harrington (Boston University), James Hartzell (University of Trento), Lobsang Jamspal (Columbia University), Amy Langenberg (Auburn University), Joseph Loizzo (Weill Cornell Medical College), Paul Nietupski ( John Carroll University), Andrew Quintman (Yale University), Evan Thompson (University of Toronto), Gary Tubb (University of Chicago), Vesna Wallace (University of California, Santa Barbara), and Christian Wedemeyer (University of Chicago).

2011 San Francisco

Theme:  The Age of Fragmentation and the Reconstruction of Tradition

Kammie Morrison Takahashi, Washington University, “Contribution, Attribution, and Selective Lineal Amnesia”

Joel Gruber, University of California, Santa Barbara, “The Reintroduction of the Life and Teachings of Vimalamitra”

Jacob Dalton, University of California, Berkeley, “Forging Orthodoxy Out of Darkness: The Newly Discovered Edicts of King Yeshe Ö”

Daniel Hirshberg, Harvard University, “Reincarnation in the Tibetan Renaissance”

David Germano, University of Virginia, Responding

Theme:  The Culinary in Buddhism:  Miracles, Medicine, and Monstrosity

Natalie Gummer, Beloit College, “The Joy of Cooking with Words: Food, Fire, and Immortality in Two Mahāyāna Sūtras”

Frances Garrett, University of Toronto, “Eating Right with Tibetan Food Practices”

Annabella Pitkin, Columbia University, “The Inexhaustible Lump of Brown Sugar: Tibetan Buddhist Narratives of Miraculous Hospitality, Pleasure, and Meditative

Holly Gayley, University of Colorado, “Eating Monkey Brains: Exoticizing the Han Banquet in a Tibetan Buddhist Argument for Vegetarianism”

James McHugh, University of Southern California, Responding

Theme: Ritual, Time, and Magic Wheels:  Studies in Indian and Tibetan Tantra (co-sponsored with the Tantric Studies Group)

Ronald M. Davidson, Fairfield University, “Early Buddhist Tantras and the Smārta Quotidian Manuals”

Lewis Doney, University of London, “Buddhist Time and Tantra in Early Tibetan Historiography”

Manuel Lopez, University of Virginia, “The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Buddhism During Tibet’s Dark Age”

Eric Fry-Miller, Indiana University, “Dreaming of Magic Wheels, Flames, and Bliss: Understanding the Transformation of Candali Practice in the Drigung Kagyu”

2010 Atlanta

Theme:  “Scientific Buddhism” among Tibetans and their Western Interlocutors: Reflections on Donald Lopez’s Buddhism and Science (University of Chicago Press, 2008)

Paul G. Hacket, Columbia University, “Patterns of Engagement:  From ‘Hinduism and Science’ to ‘Buddhism and Science'”

Holly Gayley, University of Colorado, “Science Versus Superstition:  Repositioning Tibetan Buddhism in the People’s Republic of China”

Douglas S. Duckworth, East Tennessee State University, “Tsültrim Lodrö on Philosophy, Science, and Buddhism”

David McMahan, Franklin and Marshall College, “Science, Meditation, and Multiple Modernities:  Tibetan Buddhism in Three Keys”

Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Emory University, Responding

Theme:  Madness, Smallpox, and Death in Tibet

Derek Mahr, East Carolina University, “Panchen Lozang Pelden Yeshé and the Religious Dimensions of Smallpox in Tibet”

Brandon Dotson, University of Oxford, “Transformation and Subversion in Tibetan Funeral Rites: Buddhist Modes for Overcoming Bon po Competitors”

Michael Sheehy, TBRC and The New School, “Identity Politics of Reembodiment:  Lineage Formation in Tibetan and Mongolian Accounts of Rje btsun Tā ra nā tha’s (1575–1635) Death and the Birth of Khal kha Blo bzang bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan (1635–1723)”

David DiValerio, University of Virginia, “‘Holy Madness’ as Self-representation”  Tsangnyon Heruka and Chogyam Trungpa”

 2009 Montréal

Theme: Strategies of Buddhist Knowledge Transmission: Texts, Techniques, and Technologies in Tibet

Antonio Terrone, Northwestern University, “Buddhist Teachings from Cyberspace: Reflections on Internet Technology and the Apparitions of Tibetan Visionaries’ Websites in China”

Nicole Willock, Indiana University, Deconstructing Aspects of the Secular and Religious in the Transmission of Knowledge: A Glimpse into the Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Scholar in Modern China”

Michael R. Sheehy, New School and Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, “Life After Tāranātha: Priorities and Strategies for the Survival of Esoteric Knowledge Transmission among Jonangpa in Post-seventeenth Century Tibet”

Holly Gayley, University of Colorado, “All in the Dudjom (Bdud ‘joms) Family: Overlapping Modes of Authority and Transmission in the Golok Treasure Scene”

Leonard W.J. Van Der Kuijp, Harvard University, Responding

Theme: New Approaches to Tibetan Historiography

Brenton Sullivan, University of Virginia, “Tibetan Buddhist Blueprints for Reviving Chinese Buddhism: Fazun’s (1901–1980) Xizang Minzu Zhengjiao Shi (Political and Religious History of the Tibetan People)”

Christopher Bell, University of Virginia, Dorjé Shukden: The Conflicting Narratives and Constructed Histories of a Tibetan Protector Deity”

Jann Ronis, University of Virginia, “Buddhist Discussions of State Violence: A Case Study of Multiple Local Histories of a Medieval Tibetan Kingdom”

Benjamin Wood, University of Toronto, “Divine Rule in the History of Zhwa Lu”

Eric D. Mortensen, Guilford College, “The Problem of the Age of Naxi Pictographs and the Parallel Oral Tradition of Ritual Recitation in Yunnan”

Theme: Translating Tibetan Buddhism: Language, Transmission, and Transformation (with Buddhism in the West Consultation)

James Blumenthal, Oregon State University, “Translating Buddhism in the Academic Buddhist Academy”

Thomas Doctor, University of Lausanne, “On Sources, Targets, and the Middle Way: Is Madhyamaka Translatable?”

Martijn van Beek, Aarhus University, “Translating the Great Perfection: Anthropological Reflections on Authority and Authenticity”

Andreas Doctor, Kathmandu University, Translating Esoteric Buddhism: Secrecy, Integrity, and the Role of the Translator”

2008 Chicago

Theme: The Uttaratantra Debate: Examining Competing Claims Regarding the Significance of the Uttaratantra in Classical Tibetan Buddhist Literature

Roger Jackson, Carleton College, Presiding

Tsering Wangchuk, University of Virginia, “Sentient Beings Do Not Have the Tathagata-essence: Dratsepa Rinchen Namgyal on the Uttaratantra”

Michael R. Sheehy, Jonang Foundation, “Is the Uttaratantra-sastra Really a Madhyamaka Text? Jo nang pa Understandings of Tibetan Buddhist Doxography and Historiography”

Yaroslav Komarovski, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “Shakya Chokden’s Interpretation of the Ratnagotravibhaga”

Bo Jiang, Columbia University, “Rgyal-tshab’s Doctrinal Classification of the Uttaratantra”

John J. Makransky, Boston College, Responding

Theme: Tibet and the West: Modern Intersections (Co-sponsored with the Buddhism in the West Consultation)

Frances Garrett, University of Toronto, Presiding

Jessica Falcone, Cornell University, “‘Holy Objects, Batman!’: Skepticism, Ambivalence, and Faith Regarding Sacred Objects amongst ‘Western’ Converts to Tibetan Buddhism”

Abraham Zablocki, Agnes Scott College, “After Protestant Buddhism: Beyond the Modern/Traditional Binary in Contemporary Buddhism”

Julie Regan, Harvard University, “A New Consideration of the Use of English in Contemporary South Asian-Tibetan Buddhism”

Katja Rakow, University of Heidelberg, “The Impact of Coincidence, Pragmatism, and Eclecticism in Transplanting and Adopting Tibetan Buddhism in the West”

2007 San Diego

Theme: Tibetan Religion in China: Past and Present

Kurtis Schaeffer, University of Virginia, Presiding

Sam van Schaik, British Library, “The Chinese Pilgrim’s Passport: A 10th Century Sino-Tibetan Document from Amdo and Gansu”

 Paul Nietupski, John Carroll University, “The Fourth Belmang: Bodhisattva, Estate Lord, Tibetan Militia Leader, and Chinese Government Official”

 J.F. Marc des Jardins, Concordia University, “Bon Institutions in Contemporary Tibetan Territories and the Dynamics of Religious Authority”

 Antonio Terrone, Leiden University, “The New Journey to the West: the Role of Chinese Devotees in the Development of Tibetan Buddhism in Eastern Tibet”

 Gray Tuttle, Columbia University, Responding

Theme: Tibetan Lived Religion? (an entirely Tibet-focused panel sponsored by Anthropology of Religion Group)

 Frances Garrett, University of Toronto, Presiding

 Cameron David Warner, Harvard University, “Mimesis and Apotropaism: Devotion to Tibet’s National Palladium”

Antonio Terrone, Leiden University, “Finding Buddhism in the 21st Century: Treasure Revelation and Religious Authority in Present-day Tibet”

 Sarah Jacoby, Columbia University, “Being a Dakini in Contemporary Eastern Tibet”

 Arthur McKeown, Harvard University, “Devotional Practices at Gyantse and Wutai Shan: Removing the Text from Translation”

 Robert Orsi, Northwestern University, Responding

2006 Washington, DC

Theme: Transformations in Research and Teaching on Tibetan Buddhism with the Use of New Technologies

John Dunne, Emory University, Presiding

Jacob Dalton, Yale University

Jose Cabezon, University of California at Santa Barbara

Georges Dreyfus, Williams College

Frances Garrett, University of Toronto

David Germano, University of Virginia

2005 Philadelphia

Theme: Person, Place, and Authority in Tibet

Benjamin Bogin, University of California, Berkeley, “The Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain: Visions of a Tantric Pure Land”

Derek Maher, East Carolina University, “The Second Panchen Lama (1663-1737) and the Leadership of Tibet”

Paul Nietupski, John Carroll University, “The Fifth Jamyang Shepa and the Labrang Nagpas: Religious Pluralism at Labrang”

Jann Ronis, University of Virginia, “The Publication of the Kanjur and Tenjur (1729-1744) in the Formulation of the Buddhist Kingdom of Derge in Eastern Tibet”

Andrew H. Quintman, University of Michigan, “Milarepa’s Life on the Rocks: Transformations of Literature and Landscape in the Borderlands of Southern Tibet.”

Theme: Dialogues and Debates on Tibetan Medicine, Healing, and Religion (co-sponsored by THRG and Religions, Medicines, and Healing Group)

Vesna Acimovic Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara, Presiding

Alejandro Chaoul, Rice University

Frances Garrett, University of Toronto

Eric Jacobson, Harvard University

Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan, Austin College

2004 San Antonio

Theme: Authoritative Discourse in Tibetan Literary Production

Frances Garrett, University of Toronto, Presiding

Sam van Schaik, The British Library, “Oral Teachings and Written Texts: Transmission and Transformation in Dunhuang”

Holly Gayley, Harvard University, “The Divination of Female Agency in a Tibetan Hagiography

Kurtis Schaeffer, University of Alabama, “Avalokiteshvara’s Diary”

Cameron David Warner, “Divine Agency and Identity in the Biographies of Srong Btsan Sgam Po”

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University, Responding

Theme: Buddhism and Healing (co-sponsored by THRG and Buddhism Section)

Lori Meeks, University of Southern California, Presiding

David Drewes, Indiana University, “Medical Benefits of Mahayana Sutras”

Andrew Goble, University of Oregon, “What’s Buddhist about Buddhist Medicine? The Case of Medieval Japan”

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University, “The Word of the Buddha and the Eye of the Scientist: Early Modern Debates in Tibet, 1550-1750”

Pamela Winfield, Meredith College, “Curing with Kaji: Healing and Esoteric Empowerment in Japan”

2003 Atlanta

Theme: Lineage Construction in Tibet

Jacob Dalton, School of Oriental and African Studies. “Strategies of Lineage Construction in the Sutra Empowerment Tradition.”

Ronald M. Davidson, Fairfield University. “The Construction of Esoteric Indian Buddhist Lineages: The Case of the gSar-ma Translators.”

Frances Garrett, University of Toronto. “Reading Lineage in History: The Role of Illness in The Blue Annals.”

David Germano, University of Virginia. “The Construction of Lineages and Cosmological Narratives in Early Medieval Tibet: The rNying ma Creation of a Buddhist Vehicle Termed rDzogs Chen.”

T. Griffith Foulk, Sarah Lawrence College. Respondent.

Theme:  Women in Tibetan Religious Life: Histories and Contemporary Communities

Bryan Cuevas, Florida State University. “Tibetan Female Revenants.”

Robert Trent Pomplun, Loyola College. “Hell Hath No Fury: The Lady Tshe-ring Bkra-shis and the Death of Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas Rgya-mtsho.”

Alyson Prude, University of California Santa Barbara. “A Comparative Look at Himalayan Nunneries.”

Kurtis R. Schaeffer, University of Alabama. “A Royal Nun in Fifteenth-Century Tibet.”

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, University of San Diego. “Buddhism Women and Social Change in the Spiti Valley.”

2002 Toronto

Theme: Religious Life in the Time of the Fifth Dalai Lama

Kurtis R. Schaeffer, University of Alabama. “Controlling Time and Space in Lhasa: The New Year and City Pilgrimage Routes under the Fifth Dalai Lama.”

Bryan Cuevas, Florida State University. “Religious Life in a Seventeenth-Century Tibetan Monastery.”

Jacob Dalton, University of Michigan. “Rnying-ma Politics in the Seventeenth Century.”

Trent Pomplun, Loyola College. “Tibetan Prophetic Literature in the Notizie Istoriche of Ippolito Desideri, S. J.”

Matthew Kapstein, University of Chicago. Respondent.

Theme: The Tibetan Buddhist Encounter with Modernity

Gray Tuttle, Harvard University. “ Dharma Centers and Peace Rituals in Republican China (1914-1934): Tibetan Lamas Teach the First Wave of Chinese Laity.”

Yinong Zhang, Cornell University. “Renewing Religious Practice in a Tibetan Village of Post-Reformed China.”

Sharon J. Hepburn, Trent University. “Cultural Continuity and Change among Tamang Thangka Painters in the Kathmandu Valley.”

Abraham Zablocki, Cornell University. “Reformers vs. Traditionalists in Transnational Tibetan Buddhism.”

Georges Dreyfus, Williams College. Respondent.

2001 Denver

Theme: Medicine and Buddhism in Indo-Tibetan Tradition

Stephen Jenkins, Humboldt State University. “Continuity and Contrast in Indian Buddhist Medical Metaphor and Practice.”

Frances M. Garrett, University of Virginia. “Becoming Human in Early Tibetan Scholasticism: Tibetan Embryology and the Intertwining of Medical and Religious Rhetoric.”

Janet Gyatso, Harvard University. “Ideology versus Empiricism in the Service of Gender Distinction: A Debate in Tibetan Medicine.”

Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Harvard University. “Textual Scholarship and Medical Learning in Tibet.”

Suzanne Mrozick, Western Michigan University. Respondent.

Theme: Pilgrims and Pixels: Tibetan Buddhism in Traditional and Contemporary Academic Practice

Alexander C. McKay, University of London. “Will the Real Kailas Please Stand Up!: Towards a Theory of Himalayan Pilgrimage.”

Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan, Harvard University. “The Life and Fasting Ritual of dGe slong ma dPal mo: The Experiences of a Leper, Founder of Smyung Gnas, and Transmitter of Buddhist Teachings on Suffering and Renunciation in Tibetan Religious History.”

David Germano, University of Virginia. “Digital Library and the Study of Tibetan Buddhism.”

Alejandro Chaoul, Rice University. “The Magical Wheel: Mind-Body Relationship in the Bon Tradition and Its Applications in Today’s World.”

Eve. L. Mullen, Universitat Hamburg. “The Dalai Lama and Rangzen: Changing Symbols.”

2000 Nashville

Theme: Buddhism between Tibet and Pre-Republican China

Matthew Kapstein, University of Chicago. “Mulian in the Land of Snows: Chinese Traditions of the Arhat Maudgalyayana and Their Legacy in Tibet.”

Rob Linrothe, Skidmore College. “The Commissioner’s Commissions: Late Thirteenth-Century Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist Art in Hangzhou under the Mongols.”

Karl Debreczeny, University of Chicago. “Sino-Tibetan Wallpainting at Daobaojigong.”

Paul Nietupski, John Carroll University. “rGya nag pa tshang ta Labrang Monastery.”

Theme: Buddhism between Tibet and Republican China

Gray Tuttle, Harvard University. “Chinese Support for Modern Education in the Borderlands of Tibet: Shes rab rgya mtsho’s School in Rdo sbis, Qinghai.”

Zhihua Yao, Boston University. “Tibetan Learning in the Contemporary Chinese Yogacara School.

Robert Gimello, Harvard University. Respondent.

1999 Boston

Theme: Review of Donald S. Lopez, Jr.’s Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West.

David Germano, University of Virginia. “Encountering Tibet: The Ethics, Soteriology, and Creativity of Cross-Cultural Interpretation.”

Tsering Shakya. “Who Are the Prisoners?”

Robert A. F. Thurman, Columbia University. “Critical Reflections on Donald S. Lopez Jr.’s Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West.”

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., University of Virginia. Response.

Theme: Tibetan Buddhism on the Borderlands

Bryan J. Cuevas, University of Virginia. “Notes for a History of the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’: Textual Transmission and Printing from Tibet to Bhutan.”

Gregory A. Hillis, University of Virginia. “In Exile from the Land of the Snows: kLong chen pa’s Sojourn in Bhutan and its Literary Impact.”

Paul Nietupski, John Carroll University. “Lamas and Literature in 20 th Century Labrang.”

Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Harvard University. “Patronage, Printing, and Tibetan Buddhist Literary Culture in Dolpo: The Life and Writings of Bstan ‘dzin ras pa, Founder of Shel Monastery.”

Gray Tuttle, Harvard University. “What Chinese Buddhists Wanted (and What they Got) From Tibetan Buddhism.”

1998 Orlando

Theme: Chapters in the History of Tibetan Religion

Theme: Competing Representations of Tibetan Religion

1997 San Francisco

Theme: The Controversy over the Deity Dorje Shugden

Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

Georges Dreyfus


Theme: Non-Buddhist Traditions in Tibet

Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Harvard University

Micheal Walter, Indiana University


1996 New Orleans

Theme: Tibetan Monastic Education

Elizabeth Napper, University of Hawaii. “Traditional Buddhist Education in Tibetan Nunneries.”

Georges Dreyfus, Williams College. “Debate and Commentary in Tibetan Monastic Education.”

Jules B. Levinson, Hamline University. “Monastic Education at Ngagyur Nyingma Institute.”

 David Germano, University of Virginia. “Monastic Renewal in Eastern Tibet

Theme: Individual presentations by young researchers

1995 Philadelphia

Theme: Review of Geoffrey Samuel’s Civilized Shamans

 Donald S. Lopez, Jr., University of Michigan

 Richard Kohn, University of California, Berkely

 Roger Jackson, Carleton College

 Per Kvaerne, Oslo University

Theme: Vision and Revelation in Early Tibetan Buddhism

1994 Chicago

Theme: History of Tibetan and Himalayan Religious Studies

Theme: Methodological issues in Studying Tibetan and Himalayan Religions


Himalayan and Tibetan Religions Consultation

1993 Washington, D.C.

Theme: Tibetan Cultural Identities

David Germano, University of Virginia. “Nomadic Religiosity and the Myth of Legality: Early Tantric Thought, Narratives of the Past and Cultural Identity in Tibet.”

Ronald M. Davidson, Fairfield University. “The Synthesis of Lam-‘bras and Virupa’s Hagiography.”

Anne C. Klein, Rice University. “Stopping Hail: Religious and Social Dimensions of a Tibetan Ritual.”

Georges Dreyfus, Williams College. “Historiography in Tibet: A Rhetoric of Identity”

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