Professor & Chair
PO Box 400126
Department of Religious Studies
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4126
- Tibetan Buddhism
- Tibetan History
- Indian Buddhism
- Dalai Lama
- Bachelor of Arts (BA), Clark College, 1988
- Bachelor of Arts (BA), Evergreen State College, 1990
- Master of Arts (MA), University of Washington, 1995
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Harvard University, 2000
- Talking about "Religion": Pasts, Presents, Pedagogies
- Project Sponsored By: Nfah - Nat'L Endowment for The Humanities
- 10/01/2010 - 09/30/2011
- Award Amount: $101,708.00
A graduate of Harvard University's Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies (2000), Kurtis R. Schaeffer is Professor in the History of Religions section of the Department of Religious Studies, and currently serves as Associate Chairman of the Department. Before coming to the University of Virginia in 2005, he was a member of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama from 2000 to 2005. Schaeffer's work focuses on the cultural and intellectual history of Tibet. His recent publications include The Culture of the Book in Tibet (Columbia University Press, 2009) and, with Leonard van der Kuijp, An Early Tibetan Survey of Buddhist Literature (Harvard Oriental Series 64, 2009). Schaeffer is a past co-director of the Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group in the American Academy of Religion, and is currently leading a seminar on "Religion and the Literary in Tibet" at the AAR. He also serves as the Book Review Editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. He is the recipient of Fulbright, Ryskamp, and Whiting fellowships. His current projects include a book on the idea of the Dalai Lama, a translation of an eighteenth century Bhutanese life story of the Buddha, and a study of traditional literary criticism and poetics in Tibet.
- The Culture of the Book in Tibet. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.
- An Early Tibetan Catalogue of Buddhist Literature: The Bstan pa rgyas pa nyi ma’i ‘od zer of Bcom ldan ral gri. Kurtis R. Schaeffer and Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Oriental Series, 2009. HOS64.
- Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of a Buddhist Poet Saint. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Himalayan Hermitess: The Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Nun. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Power, Politics and the Reinvention of Tradition in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Tibet: Proceedings of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Xth Seminar, Oxford University, 2003. Kurtis R. Schaeffer and Bryan J. Cuevas, Editors. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2006.
- Among Tibetan Texts: Essays on Tibetan Religion, Literature, and History by E. Gene Smith. Edited with an introduction by Kurtis R. Schaeffer. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001. In the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism Series, a refereed series.
Books in Preparation
- Dalai Lama: The Story of an Idea. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Forthcoming 2012.
- Sources of Tibetan Tradition. Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Gray Tuttle, Matthew T. Kapstein, Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp, Editors. New York: Columbia University Press. Under contract, forthcoming 2012.
- The Tibetan History Reader. Kurtis R. Schaeffer and Gray Tuttle, Editors. New York: Columbia University Press. Forthcoming 2011.
Articles in Print
- “Crystal Orbs and Arcane Treasuries: Tibetan Anthologies of Buddhist Tantric Songs from the Tradition of Pha Dam pa sangs rgyas.” Acta Orientalia (Norway) 68 (2007): 5-73.
- "Dying Like Milarepa: Death Accounts in a Tibetan Hagiographic Tradition." The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations. Bryan J. Cuevas and Jaqueline I. Stone, Eds. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007. Kuroda Studies in East Asian Buddhism No. 20. pp. 208-233.
- "Death, Prognosis, and the Physician's Reputation in Tibet." Heroes and Saints: The Moment of Death in Cross-cultural Perspectives. Phyllis Granoff and Koichi Shinohara, Eds. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. pp. 159-172.
- "Ritual, Festival, and Authority under the Fifth Dalai Lama." In Power, Politics and the Reinvention of Tradition in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Tibet: Proceedings of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Xth Seminar, Oxford University, 2003. Kurtis R. Schaeffer and Bryan J. Cuevas, Editors. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2006. pp. 187-202.
- "Future Directions in Modern Tibetan Studies: Religion/History." The CSSR (Council of Societies for the Study of Religion) Bulletin 35/1 (2006): 17-19.
- “The Autobiography of a Medieval Tibetan Hermitess.” In Women in Tibet: Past and Present. Janet Gyatso and Hanna Havnevik, Eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
- "The Fifth Dalai Lama." In The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History. Martin Brauen, Ed. Chicago: Serindia Publications, 2005. pp. 64-91.
- “A Letter to Editors of the Buddhist Canon in 14th Century Tibet.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 124/2 (2004): 1-17. (.pdf, 5.6MB)
- "Professing Buddhism in Alabama." The CSSR (Council of Societies for the Study of Religion) Bulletin 33/2 (2004): 43-46.
- “Textual Scholarship, Medical Tradition, and Mahayana Buddhist Ideals in Tibet.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 31/5-6 (2003): 621-641.
- “The Attainment of Immortality: From Nathas in India to Buddhists in Tibet." Journal of Indian Philosophy 30/6 (2003). pp. 515-533.
- “The Religious Career of Vairocanavajra—A Twelfth-Century Indian Buddhist Master from Daksina Kosala.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 28/4 (2000). pp. 361-384.
- “Printing the Words of the Master: Tibetan Editorial Practice in the Collected Works of ‘Jam dbyangs bzhad pa’i rdo rje I (1648-1721).” Acta Orientalia 60 (1999). pp. 159-177.
Articles in Press
- *"Tibetan Poetry on Wutaishan." Journal of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. Forthcoming 2011.
- *"The Printing Projects of Tsangnyon Heruka and His Disciples." in Matthew T. Kapstein, Ed., Proceedings of the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. Brill Publications.
- *"New Tibetan Scholarship, 1650-1700." In Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern South Asia, Sheldon Pollock, ed. Raleigh: Duke University Press. Forthcoming 2011.
- *“Salt and the Sovereignty of the Dalai Lama, circa 1697.” In Festschrift for Koichi Shinohara. James Benn, ed. Forthcoming 2011.
- *“Putting Hagiography in Place: Tibetan Narratives on Buddha’s Acts at Vajrasana.” In Life of the Buddha: New Perspectives and Discoveries. Sonya Quintanilla, ed. Vancouver, BC: Brill Publishers. Forthcoming 2011.
- *"Charting Tibetan Biography." In the proceedings of the conference "Publishing and Editing: The Evolution and Future of Writing in Tibet," Paris, May 29-30, 2008. Anne Chayet and Francoise Robin, editors.
- "Karma pas." In Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition. Lindsay Jones, ed. New York: Macmillan, 2005. vol. 8, pp. 5101-5104.