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. 

Marion Dapsance
Marion Dapsance  |  Abstract
Alexandra David-Néel, the French explorer and writer, famous for reaching Lhasa in 1924, was probably the first to use the phrase 'Buddhist Modernism' (1911). She was one of the most prolific inventors and active promoters of Modern Buddhism, with more than 30 books published between 1898 and 2003. However, in spite of the abundant literature she inspired, no scholarly work has been done to elucidate her specific contribution to the understanding, imagination, and popularity of Buddhism in the West. The aim of this research is to remedy this lack through: the study of the myth she contributed to create around her own person, an analysis of her writings on Buddhism in the cultural context of her time, and an investigation of her role in the promotion of Buddhism as a world religion.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Religion, École Pratique des Hautes Études, France  -  Alexandra David-Néel as a Buddhist Saint, Intellectual, and Missionary: A French Woman's Influence on Modern Buddhism
Department of Religion at Columbia University

Juan Wu
Juan Wu  |  Abstract
This project compares Buddhist and Jaina narrative traditions of four groups of royals, namely, King Bimbisara of Magadha and his family, King Pradyota of Avanti and his family, King Udayana of Vatsa and his family, and King Candragupta with his Mauryan family. Its purpose is not to offer an alternative political history of early India, but to explore the fluidity of identities of these royals across Buddhism and Jainism, and the diverse ways in which Buddhist and Jaina storytellers used these royals to convey their own views on issues such as the relations between religion and the state, the tension between ideals and realities of kingship, etc. In doing so, the project also sheds new light on both common narrative heritage of Buddhism and Jainism, and unique properties of each tradition.

Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Tsinghua University  -  Royals across Religious Boundaries: A Comparative Study of Stories of Shared Royal Personages in Indian Buddhism and Jainism
Institute for Area Studies at Leiden University

Maya Kerstin Hyun Stiller
Maya Kerstin Hyun Stiller  |  Abstract
The Kumgang Mountains (Korean: Kumgangsan) have traditionally been one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Korea. This project is a case study of Kumgangsan’s Buddhist communities surviving in the hostile environment of early modern Korea (1650–1900). Survival strategies included collaborating with the cultural elite, appealing for state support, and maintaining an extensive support network of wealthy donors. Religiously motivated conflicts and violence continue today, but this case study demonstrates an alternative to violent behavior and contributes to a deeper understanding of how a religious community can survive in a hostile environment by adopting non-violent survival tactics.

Assistant Professor, Kress Foundation Department of Art History, University of Kansas  -  Transformational Journeys and Encounters: Pilgrimages to Kumgangsan in Early Modern Korea (1650 to 1900)
Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University