I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University, with a specialization in Chinese Buddhist history.
The core questions motivating my research are those of space and spatiality, education and the construction of knowledge, and the dynamic relationship between orthodoxy and innovation in Chinese Buddhism.
My dissertation, “Crafting Cosmologies: Buddhist Cartography and the Spatial Imagination in Medieval China,” supported by a Stanford Humanities Center Mellon Foundation fellowship, examines written and visual discourses that map the Buddhist cosmos in China from the fourth to thirteenth centuries. The study is grounded in manuscripts and murals preserved at the Mogao Grottoes, located near the Silk Road oasis town of Dunhuang. In translating, unpacking, and tracing the lives and afterlives of these materials, this focus is augmented by treatments of a diverse array of texts, images, and maps whose productions range from the Six Dynasties (220-589) to the Song (960-1279), from the sand swept caves of Dunhuang to elite temples of central China, and from the hands of anonymous local scribes to imperially sponsored scholar-monks.
My teaching experience is extensive, spanning nearly a decade in classrooms at Stanford, Florida State University, and the Dunhuang Research Academy in China. My pedagogical methods are effective in making foreign topics such as Buddhism, East Asian Religions, cosmology, and theories of religion and cartography relatable to a wide range of students. In the classroom, I emphasize primary sources, employ experiential learning, and strive to make beliefs, practices, cultures, and history come alive.
At Stanford, I have organized several conferences and workshops—developing themes, inviting speakers and attendees, planning logistics, and managing budgets—including founding and coordinating the year-long workshop series, Asian Representations and Constructions of Space (ARCS). I am the recipient of several awards, grants, and external sponsorships for research, travel, conference organizing, and dissertation writing. I have served the university in roles ranging from meditation instructor to advisory board committee member.
I completed my Master's degree in the Department of Religion at Florida State University in 2012. My MA thesis, “Education, Invention of Orthodoxy, and the Construction of Modern Buddhism on Dharma Drum Mountain,” is an historical and ethnographic examination of Buddhist education in China and Taiwan from the nineteenth to twentieth centuries, with emphasis on a contemporary Taiwanese Buddhist organization.