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Anne M. Blackburn
Blackburn was trained to study Buddhism as an historian of religions (in a program greatly influenced by approaches to historical sociology and hermeneutics) rather than as a philologist. Her secondary supervisor worked in Buddhist Studies and South Asian Studies and was (unusually for the field at that time) insistent that the scholars working on Buddhist texts attend to their literary features, and the contexts for their composition and reception. This combination of influences allows her to approach Buddhist texts with attention to the contexts in which they were composed and used. It has also led her to substantial work in the history of devotional practices and intellectual history, topics first broached in undergraduate days at Swarthmore College. Blackburn approaches this work with the assumption that the history of Buddhist texts and practices should not be divorced from the history of other forms of life with which they are closely connected, and through which they have been constituted.
Anne Blackburn is an historian of Buddhism, focusing on Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Buddhist networks with Southeast Asia and the South Asian mainland. She has a special interest in monastic culture, and works at the intersection of social and intellectual history with attention to connections between Buddhist devotional practice, education and textual culture, and lay patronage. Her first two books (2001 & under review) examine Buddhist monastic institutions and social projects in Sri Lanka during the 18th and 19th centuries. These projects study Buddhist activities partly in relation to problems of modernity and colonialism in southern Asia. The next book project (and a related article now in print) turn more towards medieval mainland Southeast Asian contexts where Sri Lankan monastic lines entered local ritual and political life.
- Asian Studies
- Religious Studies Program
- Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture
- Asian Studies
- academic article
- Buddhist Technologies of Statecraft and Millennial Moments. History and Theory 56, no. 1 (March 2017), 71-79
- Buddhist Connections in the Indian Ocean: Changes in Monastic Mobility, 1000-1500. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 58 (2015), 287-266
- Ceylonese Buddhism in Colonial Singapore: New Ritual Spaces Specialists, 1895-1935. ARI Working Paper Series. 2012
- Writing Buddhist Histories from Landscape and Architecture: Sukhothai and Chiang Mai. Buddhist Studies Review. 24:192-225. 2007
- Notes on Sri Lankan Temple Manuscript Collections. Journal of the Pali Text Society. 27:1-59.2002
- Looking for the Vinaya: Monastic Discipline in the Practical Canons of the Theravada. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. 22:255-289. 1999
- Magic in the Monastery: Textual Practice and Monastic Identity in Sri Lanka. History of Religions. 38:354-372. 1999
- Locations of Buddhism: Colonialism and Modernity in Sri Lanka.. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press. 2010
- Approaching the Dhamma: Buddhist Texts and Practices in South and Southeast Asia. Ed. Blackburn, Anne M.. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Ed.. 2003
- Buddhist Learning and Textual Practice in Eighteenth-Century Lankan Monastic Culture. Princeton University Press.
- Lineage, Inheritance, and Belonging: Expressions of Monastic Affiliation from Lanka. How Theravada is the Theravada?: Exploring Buddhist Identities. 2012
- 'Buddhist Revival' and the 'Work of Culture' in Sri Lanka, Past and Present. The Anthropologist and the Native: Essays for Gananath Obeyesekere. London: Anthem Press. 221-246. 2011
- Localizing Lineage: Importing Higher Ordination in Theravadin South and Southeast Asia. Constituting Communities: Theravada Buddhism and the Religious Cultures of South and Southeast Asia. Albany: State University of New York Press. 2003
- Serendipity and Sadness. Excursions and explorations : cultural encounters between Sri Lanka and the United States. Colombo. 2002