The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies offers an articulated set of fellowship and grant competitions that will expand the understanding and interpretation of Buddhist thought in scholarship and society, strengthen international networks of Buddhist studies, and increase the visibility of innovative currents in those studies.

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships provide two years of funding to recent recipients of the PhD for residence at a university for the purpose of revising the dissertation into a publishable manuscript or for beginning the first new project after completion of the PhD degree.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Piphal Heng
Piphal Heng  |  Abstract
My research examines Theravada landscape and organizational change in post-Angkorian Cambodia (fifteenth to eighteenth century). Cambodia underwent multiple organizational shifts: the adoption of Theravada, the collapse of Angkor empire, a southward shift in population concurrent with an intensified participation in maritime trade, and a decline in stone temple constructions and inscriptions. Theravada pagodas replaced and co-opted the Angkorian Hindu-Mahayana temples to become loci of communities and centers of power. In what traces does the physical landscape record demographic and economic shifts from a Hindu-Mahayana to Theravada worldview? My archaeological work uses pagoda-centered settlement organization as a lens for examining settlement organization change following the Angkorian period.

Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, University of Hawaii at Manoa  -  Theravada Buddhism, Political Economy, and Organizational Change in Post-Angkorian Cambodia
Northern Illinois University

Soorakkulame Pemarathana
Soorakkulame Pemarathana  |  Abstract
My book aims to reveal the broader foundation of Buddhist modernism in Asia. Focusing on the modernization of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, it highlights the importance of local cultural contexts to understand modernizing efforts of Buddhists as multidirectional. It argues against the existing scholarly paradigm that views the modernization of Buddhism in Asian countries as an adoption of Western models and values. The book shows how the innovative use of an indigenous ritual of venerating the Buddha has been a key element in the process of modernizing Buddhism in colonial and postcolonial Sri Lanka. It also questions the characterization of Buddhist modernism as anti-ritual and as a project of the elite social class.

Doctorate Recipient, Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh  -  Bringing the Buddha Closer: The Role of Venerating the Buddha in the Modernization of Buddhism in Sri Lanka
University of Pennsylvania

Zijie Li
Zijie Li  |  Abstract
I plan to continue my research on Tathagatagarbha and consciousness-only ideas, focusing on the early history of Japanese Buddhist thought, before the teachings of Kukai and Saicho were developed. In particular, I am pursuing the question of how Tathagatagarbha and consciousness-only ideas, which developed in the context of Chinese Buddhism from the fifth to the seventh centuries, were understood and accepted in Japanese Buddhism during the Nara and Heian periods. In my doctoral dissertation, following the Ratnagotravibhaga, I reviewed and reconsidered the Tathagatagarbha and consciousness-only theories in the context of Chinese Buddhism. To better research East Asian Buddhism, I plan to reassess them in the context of Japanese Buddhism before Kukai and Saicho.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, Japan  -  A Study on Tathagatagarbha and Consciousness-only Ideas, Focusing on the Early History of Japanese Buddhist Thought, Before the Teachings of Kukai and Saicho were Developed, During the Nara and Heian Periods
SOAS, University of London