Regional Circulations and the Political Remaking of the Buddhasasana in Late-Medieval Sri Lanka


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


My dissertation will rethink the relationship between Buddhism and politics. I argue that scholarly reliance on theories of ‘legitimation’ has obscured a more complex social history in which dispositional repertoires and affective vocabularies connected religious and political realms. I do so within the context of late-medieval Sri Lanka where new modes of Buddhist religiosity marked the discursive practices of royal courts—specifically, worshipping both the Buddha and Hindu gods within a single ritual circuit. By analyzing literary and epigraphic representations of the practices by which royal courts were constituted as social actors, I will track how regional groups operating in Sri Lanka fundamentally altered the conditions under which one could claim to be a Buddhist regent.