Karen Blixens Plads 8, 2300 København S, Søndre Campus, Building: 10-4-31
Before joining ToRS to start my Marie Skłodowski-Curie Research Fellowship, I was a Lecturer in the History of Modern East Asia at the University of Manchester (2015-2017) where I had previously held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in Chinese Studies (2012-2015). I gained my PhD from the University of Leeds (2011), where I also worked as a Lecturer in Modern Chinese Studies (2011-2012). Before starting my doctoral studies in 2007, I worked in various organisations in the UK third and public sector as a researcher and writer.
Primary fields of research
My main research interests are in the field of religion, economy and morality. My particular focus thus far has been on the revival and development of Tibetan monastic Buddhism in post-Mao China, lay-monastic relations and different forms of modes of religious giving. I am particular interested in the moral dimensions of religious giving in a society undergoing accelerated process of economic and social change, as well as political uncertainty. My research reflects my interdisciplinary area studies background, crossing boundaries between anthropology, religious studies and history, as well as between Chinese and Tibetan studies. I have conducted extended ethnographic fieldwork in monasteries and communities on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan plateau in the eastern part of the Amdo region / eastern Qinghai province.
Wealth, Virtue and Social Justice My current Marie Curie project (funded by the European Commission) examines the relationship between Buddhism and ideas about wealth, virtue and social justice in contemporary Tibet, based ethnographic on data collected during a total of two years’ fieldwork since 2008. Taking specific cases of a variety of forms and modes of Buddhist patronage, I use these as sites upon which to explore moral assumptions about value and the social good in a ‘Buddhist’ society experiencing rapid economic development, rising levels of consumption and growing inequalities. The aim is to bring empirically-grounded research on Tibet and Buddhism to bear on wider theoretical debates about value and exchange, religion, economy and the social good in the contemporary world.
Buddhism, Business and Believers My Marie Curie project intersects with the larger BBB project at the University of Copenhagen, which enquires into contemporary relations between business and Buddhism. The aim is to gain novel insights into the manner that Buddhism becomes an agent mediating distinctions between virtue and value, spirituality and materiality, gifts and commodities – and therefore also subscribes meaning to objects, actions and human relations. The project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark and the Carlsberg Foundation. See: http://ccrs.ku.dk/research/projects/buddhism-business-and-believers/
Religious Authority in Asia Since 2014, I have been working with Erica Baffelli (Japanese Studies, University of Manchester) on an international, collaborative research network project aimed at promoting comparative discussion of changing forms of religious authority in East-Asia. The objective was to look beyond geo-political borders and religious traditions, bringing together scholars working from a variety of disciplinary perspectives on both ‘traditional’ and new modes of authority, on both institutionalised religions and individual religious specialists, and on different religious traditions and movements in different geographical contexts. Having run two international workshops and a series of public talks, we are now working on the final output of the project, a special journal issue on ‘Modes of Authority in East-Asian Religions: Aesthetics, Sound, Body, and Space’ (expected publication 2018). The project was a cross-centre initiative between the British Inter-University China Centre and the White Rose East Asia Centre, and was funded by the UK Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC).