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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Hiroko Kawanami supervises 7 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Hiroko Kawanami

Hiroko Kawanami

Lancaster University

County South



Office Hours:

Please email me to make an appointment.   

Research overview

I am a social anthropologist and Buddhist studies scholar interested in gender and Buddhism, dissemination of knowledge and moral values, social justice and wellbeing, charismatic power(s) of monastic practitioners, and more recently on Buddhist orthodoxy and how heretical monks are created in Myanmar.

I am fluent in vernacular Myanmar and Japanese, can read classical Chinese and Pali, and have conducted research on the Buddhist monastic community in Myanmar for the last three decades. 

My most recent monographs are The Culture of Giving in Myanmar (2020 Bloomsbury) and 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


MSc, PhD. London School of Economics and Political Science (Social Anthropology)

BA, MA. Sophia University, Tokyo (International Relations with special emphasis on Sino-Japanese Relations)


Career Details

I taught at Sophia University in Tokyo 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 2019, I was awarded the FASS award for 'Outstanding Contribution to the Student Experience'.

I mentored PhD students at their various stages of writing at SOAS, York, and Oxford University. I also gave seminar talks to postgraduate students at Minzu University and Nanjin Unversity in China. 

In 2014, I received 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.'

Recent conference presentations include: AAS-in-Asia (Kobe 2020; Bangkok 2019; Kyoto 2016), IABS (Seoul 2022; Toronto 2017), EUROSEAS (Oxford, 2017); SE Asian Congress (2016).

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

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

Professional Role

I am currently Director of Postgraduate Research in PPR. 

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

Member of the editorial board of Buddhist Studies Review and Journal of Buddhism, Law & Society.

Associate Professor (status only) in the Department for the Study of Religion at University of Toronto (2018-2023).

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