Sarah H. Jacoby G'20, F'12

Sarah H. Jacoby
Associate Professor
Asian Languages and Cultures; Religious Studies
Northwestern University

Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants 2020
Associate Professor
Asian Languages and Cultures; Religious Studies
Northwestern University
Lotsawa Workshop: Celebrating Buddhist Women’s Voices in the Tibetan Tradition

Until now the voices of Tibetan Buddhist women have been difficult to discern since primary sources by and about women are scarce and those that exist extend across literary corpuses. The impetus for this collaborative reading and translation workshop comes from the Buddhist nuns at Larung Gar in eastern Tibet who recently published a groundbreaking compilation of 52 volumes of writings by, for, and about Buddhist women in the Tibetan language. Titled the Dakinis’ Great Dharma Treasury (Mkha’ ’gro’i chos mdzod chen mo) and published in 2017, this compilation opens up new horizons for the reading and interpretation of Tibetan texts. Our workshop will engage intergenerational scholars from China, Europe, and North America to collaborate in close readings and discussions about the translation of select passages from these exemplary texts and other works proposed by participants.

ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
Assistant Professor
Religious Studies
Northwestern University
Self, Society, and Sentiment in the Autobiographical Writings of a Tibetan Female Visionary

This project is the first study in any language of the writings of one of the most prolific female authors in pre-1950s Tibetan history, Sera Khandro (1892-1940), whose long autobiography is a rare first-person account of life as a Tibetan Buddhist visionary and Tantric consort. This research aims to better understand the roles of women and sexuality within particular Eastern Tibetan religious communities by listening closely to the many conversations Sera Khandro recounts in her autobiographical writings that convey not only her own sentiments, concerns, and values, but those of her interlocutors and their wider community. What we hear through these dialogues redefines current conceptions about the roles of women in Tantra and the place of love within Buddhism.