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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Hiroko Kawanami supervises 4 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Hiroko Kawanami

Senior Lecturer

Hiroko Kawanami

Lancaster University

County South



Tel: +44 1524 592413

Office Hours:

Term time 2018-19:

Tuesday 15:00-16:00

Wednesday 10:00-11:00

Otherwise please email me to make an appointment.

I will be on sabbatical during the Lent Term 2019. 

Research overview

I am a social anthropologist and Buddhist studies scholar interested in gender and religion, dissemination of knowledge and moral values, social justice and wellbeing, charismatic power(s) of monastic practitioners, and more recently on how natural disasters have affected Buddhist communities and their interactions with both local and international humanitarian organisations in creating civil society. I am fluent in vernacular Myanmar and Japanese (my first degree was in Spanish though) and have conducted research on the Buddhist monastic community in Myanmar for the last three decades. My most recent publication is Renunciation and Empowerment of Buddhist Nuns in Myanmar-Burma (2013 Brill) http://www.brill.com/renunciation-and-empowerment-buddhist-nuns-myanmar-burma  I have also edited Budddhisn, International Relief Work, and Civil Society (2013 Palgrave Macmillan) and Buddhism and the Political Process (2016 PM).

PhD supervision

Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Japan; Buddhist issues in the contemporary world; Buddhist nuns and female monasticism; Buddhism and the political process; spiritual well-being and the application of mindfulness in Asian societies; anthropology of Buddhism

Research overview

Current Teaching


RST 100 World Religions: Buddhism

PPR 252 Buddhism and Modernity in Asian Societies

PPR 354 Reading Buddhism 


PPR 475 Construction of Gender in Asian Religions 

I taught a course on anthropological research methods at Beijing Foreign Studies University (international Summer Session) in China (during July 2017 and July 2018).

Research Grants

Career Details

I studied international relations and politics as an undergraduate student in Japan and then social anthropology as a postgraduate student in the UK. I spent a few years in Myanmar to study Buddhism and lived as a Buddhist nun for 16 months.

I taught at Sophia University in Japan before coming to the UK and was Evans Fellow at Cambridge University for three years before coming to Lancaster University.

Recent Activities and Grants

In 2014, I was awarded the Robert H N Ho Family Foundation Collaborative Grant in Buddhist Studies as a PI to conduct research on 'Communal jurisdiction of non-ordained female renunciants in the Southern Buddhist tradition.'

I attended PG workshops at York (April 2018), SOAS, and Oxford (June 2018) to mentor PhD students in SE Asian/Myanmar studies at their various writing up stages.  

Recent conference talks include: AAS-in-Asia (Kyoto 2016), SE Asian Congress (Oxford 2016), EUROSEAS (Oxford, 2017), IABS (Toronto, 2017). 

I organized a workshop titled: 'Gender, Buddhism, Development Actors and Civil Society (23-24 February 2013) in Sagaing, Myanmar, and hosted it with Dr Monica Lindberg Falk, Director of the Centre for East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden, and the Gender Equality Network (GEN) in Myanmar.

I founded Sakyadhita Thilashin Sathin-daik nunnery school in Sagaing, Myanmar in 1998 and 2018 marks its 20th anniversay.

Professional Role

I am currently Secretary for UK Association for Buddhist Studies.

I am Fellow of the Amercian Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) since 2014.

I was appointed Associate Professor-status only in the Department for the Study of Religion at University of Toronto (2018-2021).

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