Shawn Frederick McHale
- Associate Professor
- The George Washington University
My research will be investigate one of the most important developments in modern Vietnamese Buddhism, the search for "Phat giao nguyen thuy" -- "original" or Theravada Buddhism. This "search for origins" took Vietnamese monks and laypersons to Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, and India, but Cambodia played a key role in this process from the 1930s onwards. This movement has contributed to modern Buddhist cross-fertilizations in Asia, but has not yet been seriously studied. While the project examines the intellectual and organizational history of this search, it will also contextualize it in the difficult relations between Khmer and Vietnamese between 1930 and 1989.