Recent Faculty Awards Focus on the Academic Study of Buddhism

August 29, 2013

Two Divinity School faculty whose work focuses on the academic study of Buddhism have recently won major book awards in recognition of their work.  The study of Buddhism enjoys a long tradition at the University of Chicago, engaging students and faculty not only from the Divinity School, but also departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences.  The excellence of work at Chicago in the history, religions, and literatures of South and East Asia provides a rich contextual framework for in-depth consideration of particular developments in the Buddhist world, and the University's strong commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship broadens the horizons for work in the area. We are pleased to announce that Professors Daniel A. Arnold and Christian K. Wedemeyer have recently been recognized for their scholarly publications, which focus on very different aspects of the study of Buddhism.

Daniel A. Arnold, Associate Professor of the Philosophy of Religions, has received the Toshihide Numata Book Prize in Buddhism, awarded by the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley for his 2012 title, Brains, Buddhas, and Believing: The Problem of Intentionality in Classical Buddhist and Cognitive-Scientific Philosophy of Mind. The "Toshi" Prize is awarded on an annual basis to an outstanding book in any area of Buddhist studies. 

Professor Arnold comparatively and constructively engages Indian Buddhism, with a focus on integrating it into the larger tradition of Indian Philosophy. Brains, Buddhas, and Believing centers on the philosophical category of intentionality as a way of thinking through central issues in Buddhist epistemology and philosophy of mind.

Professor Arnold will be offering a course on Readings in Madhyamaka and the Brauer Seminar, on Intentionality and Belief, in upcoming quarters. 

Christian K. Wedemeyer, Associate Professor of the History of Religions, has received the 2013 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion: Historical Studies from the American Academy of Religion (AAR) for his 2012 title, Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism: History, Semiology, and Transgression in the Indian Traditions (Columbia University Press). The Awards for Excellence recognizes new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion, and honor books of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity, and importance; books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted. 

Professor Wedemeyer's research focuses on the esoteric (Tantric) Buddhism of India and Tibet. Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism challenges the idea that Tantras were marginal by rethinking the nature of transgressive theories and practices in Buddhist Tantric traditions.

Professor Wedemeyer will be offering Classical Theories of Religion, Buddhism in the Americas, and Ritual in South Asian Buddhism in upcoming quarters.