The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research 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 Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies offer support for research and writing in Buddhist studies for scholars who hold a PhD degree, with no restrictions on time from the PhD. These fellowships provide scholars time free from teaching and other responsibilities to devote full-time to research and writing on the project proposed.

This program is made possible by a generous grant from The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.

Read more about this program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

Related Links

Search for Fellows and Grantees

Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Katherine A. Bowie
Katherine A. Bowie  |  Abstract
Kruba Srivichai (1878-1939) is the most famous Buddhist monk of northern Thailand. Between 1920-1935, he built or restored over 100 temples throughout the region. Nonetheless, he was detained under temple arrest for investigation in Bangkok in 1920 and 1935-36, under charges that included treason. His second arrest went in tandem with the forced disrobing of some 400 of his northern disciples. Generally dismissed as resulting from petty jealousies or simple misunderstandings, the conflicts underlying his arrests have received little scholarly attention. Grounded in historical anthropology, my proposed book draws on oral histories and archival sources in order to place his arrests in the context of the process of secular nation-state formation in 20th century Thailand.

Professor, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison  -  The Saint of Northern Thailand: Resurrecting the Stormy Life of Kruba Srivichai

Laura Pace Guerrero
Laura Pace Guerrero  |  Abstract
I argue that Dharmakirti’s account of pramana is given in a way that does not presuppose a constitutive relation to reality. This ontological independence makes Dharmakirti’s account consistent with the common Buddhist claim that all experienced reality is merely conventional, yet it is still robust enough to withstand the relativism that threatens such a conventionalism. This project is important since for many Buddhist traditions, Buddhist teachings are themselves to be given only conventionally. Dharmakirti’s account, I argue, can provide an account of truth and knowledge at the conventional level that is stable and non-arbitrary and thus is sufficient to support robust standards of warrant or justification for conventional claims, and thus can defend Buddhist teachings as true.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Humanities, Utah Valley University  -  Book project entitled: “Truth for the Rest of Us: Conventional Truth in the Work of Dharmakirti”

Kevin Gray Carr
Kevin Gray Carr  |  Abstract
Between the 12th to 16th centuries, religious groups in Japan competed with each other to promote centers associated with their preferred doctrine or icon. This study focuses on these sites and their material cultures to clarify the practical effects of religious identities and affiliations. The project analyzes the textual and visual narratives that produced conceptual maps of the sacred landscape in order to develop a textured theoretical model for the rise and fall of places recognized as “sacred” in the dynamic religious environment of medieval Japan. By considering religious sites as living entities and actors—the “hagiography of place”—this study shows how various groups used the visual arts to manipulate notions of history and sacred cartography throughout medieval times.

Associate Professor, History of Art, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor  -  Topographies of the Sacred in Medieval Japan

Alicia Marie Turner
Alicia Marie Turner  |  Abstract
This project offers a genealogy of Buddhism and religious tolerance in Buddhist Southeast Asia, focusing on colonial Burma. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Buddhist institutions and the colonial state worked to construct increasingly reified concepts of religious identity through mechanisms of laws, built environment and the production of new centralized Buddhist authority focused on a discourse of the preservation of sasana. However, as a strong counterpoint multiple local heterodox Buddhist initiatives flourished, which interpreted Buddhism instead as a mechanism for movement, connection, and interaction that defied and deconstructed boundaries of religious difference and offered space for more pluralistic practices of identity and belonging.

Associate Professor, Humanities Department, York University  -  Buddhism’s Plural Pasts: Religious Difference and Indifference in Colonial Burma

Brendan S. Gillon
Brendan S. Gillon  |  Abstract
The aim of the project is to provide a philosophical and philological analysis of, as well as an English language translation of, the second of the earliest two logic texts in Chinese Buddhism, Ru shi lun. This text, said to be have been written by the great Indian Buddhist thinker, Vasubandhu (4th to 5th century ce), exists only in Chinese. Yet, despite its importance to the study of Buddhist logic, Indian and Chinese, it has never been translated into a European language, though it has been translated by Nakano (1936) into Japanese and rendered into classical Sanskrit by Tucci (1929), an early pioneer in the field of the study of Indian and Chinese Buddhist logic. Nor has the text been subject to careful philosophical and philological analysis.

Professor, Linguistics (affiliate with Philosophy/East Asian), McGill University  -  Ru Shi Lun, Second Earliest Chinese Text on Buddhist Logic: Philosophical and Philological Analysis

Nicole Willock
Nicole Willock  |  Abstract
This book project is the first in-depth study in any language on three of the most prolific Tibetan Buddhist scholars of 20th century China. My research aims to better understand how religious subjects exercise moral agency in modern China. Based on my original translations of select texts by “the Three Great Scholars”—Tseten Zhabdrung (1910-1985), Dungkar Losang Trinle (1927-1997), and Muge Samten (1914-1993), I narrate untold stories that celebrate, adapt, teach, and safeguard classical Tibetan Buddhist culture in China. What we read in their writings redefines current conceptions about the renaissance of Tibetan Buddhism in post-Mao China.

Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Old Dominion University  -  Lineages of the Literary: Tibetan Buddhist Scholars Making Modern China