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Dr Hiroko Kawanami

Senior Lecturer

Hiroko Kawanami

County South

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YL

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 592413

Office Hours:

Lent Term 2014: Wednesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:00

Otherwise by Appointment


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 25 years. 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

PhD supervision

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

Current Teaching

Undergraduate Courses:

Part One World Religions: Buddhism

PPR 240 Contemporary Issues in Asian Religions

PPR 354 Reading Buddhism 

MA Courses:

PPR 470 Sudying Religion 

PPR 478 Buddhism and Society

Research Interests

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

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 was invited to take part in an international conference titled 'Buddhism and the Political Process' at the University of Toronto in Canada (13-15 April 2012). It was funded by the Tung Lin Kok Yuen Foundation.

I co-organized an international conference: ‘Asian Religious Values and Social Justice’ at Lancaster University (26-28 September 2011)

I worked on a project; 'Buddhism and Violence', for the summer of 2010 at the Institute of Asian Culture, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan. I gave several public talks related to the project.

I was awarded Numata Visiting Professorship in Buddhist Studies in 2009 and taught a semester in the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


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