About Me

Welcome. I am a scholar of Buddhism in Tibet and the Himalaya, and associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Yale. I write, teach, and lecture about Buddhist literature and history, sacred geography and pilgrimage, and visual cultures of the wider Himalayan region. I am also interested in the religious and literary histories of Tibet’s southern border communities.

My recent book, The Yogin and the Madman: Reading the Biographical Corpus of Tibet’s Great Saint Milarepa (Columbia University Press 2014), won the American Academy of Religion’s 2014 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Textual Studies, and the 2015 Heyman Prize for outstanding scholarship from Yale University. In 2010 my new English translation of the Life of Milarepa was published by Penguin Classics. I am currently working on two new projects, one exploring Buddhist religious and literary culture in the borderlands of Tibet and Nepal, and the other examining the life of the Buddha through the visual and literary materials associated with Jonang Monastery in western Tibet. I have also been working to document and analyze traditional Bhutanese temple artwork within its historical context.

I completed my undergraduate studies at Hampshire College and my graduate work at the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to Yale, I served for seven years as Academic Director of the School for International Training’s Tibetan Studies program based in Kathmandu. Between 2001-2007 I also designed and led a summer program for Tibetan Studies in Tibet offered through the University of Michigan. From 2006-2009 I joined Princeton University’s Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, where I held the Cotsen-Mellon Fellowship in the History of the Book.

I am former Co-Chair of the Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group of the American Academy of Religion, and I co-lead a five-year seminar at the AAR on Religion and the Literary in Tibet. I also serve as Faculty Coordinator for the Yale Himalaya Initiative. For 2015-2017, I am a scholar in the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies.