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Juliane Schober

Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302

Juliane Schober is Director of the Center for Asian Research and professor of religious studies at Arizona State University. She directed the graduate program in religious studies (2009 -2012) and developed a doctoral track in the anthropology of religion.

Her primary areas of research include Theravada Buddhist practices in Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar (Burma), Anthropology of Religion; Material Culture, Media and Aesthetics; Icons; Ritual; Modernity, Politics and Religion; Colonial Studies; Conflict and Civil Society; Theravada Buddhism; and Sacred Biography. 

She has held leadership positions in the Association for Asian Studies, the American Academy of Religion,  and in the American Anthropological Association. She serves on several editorial boards, as a trustee of the Burma Studies Foundation and on the Academic Board of the Inya Institute, Yangon, Myanmar. In 2013, Professor Schober participated in the first IAPP delegation of U.S. universities to Myanmar, organized by the International Institute of Education (IIE). 

In 2018, Juliane Schober became a Research Fellow of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in Buddhist Studies. She founded the Theravada Studies Group, an academic organization affiliated with the Association for Asian Studies to promote comparative and scholarly exchanges in the social sciences and humanities about Theravada Buddhist traditions in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Southwest China and globally though pilgrimage and diaspora networks. With support from the Henry Luce Foundation, Professor Schober has developed a collaborative project on Theravada Buddhist civilizations in Southeast Asia. This project brings together international scholars to chart new directions in this field and organizes annual workshops for dissertation writers. She is Principal Investigator on Title VI grants (NRC, FLAS and UISFL). Her work has been funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. 

Her book, "Modern Buddhist Conjunctures in Myanmar: Cultural Narratives, Colonial Legacies and Civil Society," was published in 2011 (University of Hawai’i Press). She co-edited "Buddhist Manuscript Cultures" (Routledge, 2008) and edited "Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia" (U. of Hawai'i Press, 1997). She has authored many book chapters, journal articles and essays in encyclopedias, such as "The Encyclopedia of Religion" ( Macmillan 2005), "The Encyclopedia of Buddhism" (edited by Buswell, Lopez and Strong, 2003) and "The Encyclopedia of Buddhism" (edited by Prebish and Keown, 2007).

  • Ph.D. University of Illinois-Urbana 1989
  • M.A. University of Illinois-Urbana 1980
  • B.A. University of Northern Colorado 1976
Research Interests: 

Juliane Schober (Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign) is Professor of Religious Studies and an anthropologist of religion who works on Theravada Buddhist practice in Southeast Asia, especially Burma/Myanmar. Her current research focuses on technologies of communication in manuscript, print and digital media contexts. Her research expertise includes include material culture, ritual, modernity, postcolonial theory, sacred biography, pilgraimge, and religion and politics. Her publications can be accessed at  

Research Group: 

The Theravada Studies Group, Founder and Chair, 2011-present, 

The Theravada Civilizations Project:


Her publications can be accessed at

Selected Publications:


Theravada Buddhist Encounter with Modernity, Juliane Schober and Steven Collins, editors (Routledge, 2017).                 

Modern Buddhist Conjunctures in Myanmar (University of Hawai’i, 2011) 

Buddhist Manuscript Cultures: Knowledge, Ritual and Art, co-edited with Stephen Berkwitz and Claudia Brown (Routledge, 2008).

Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia, Editor. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997; reprinted by Motilal Banarsidass, 2002.

Articles and Essays:

Belonging in a New Myanmar: Identity, Law and Gender in the Anthropology of Contemporary Buddhism, Religion and Society: Advances in Research, special issue on the Anthropology of Buddhism, vol. 8 (2017): 158-172.

To Be Burmese is to Be Buddhist: Formations of Buddhist Modernity in Colonial Burma, Buddhism and Colonialism in Asia, Th. Borchert ed., Routledge, 2018: 21-41.        

Theravada Buddhist Civilizations and Their Modern Formations, co-authored with S. Collins, Theravada Buddhist Encounter with Modernity, J.Schober and S.Collins, eds., 2017:.3-16.

Mőnche in Myanmar, in Myanmar - Das Goldene Land, Georg Noak and Ines de Casro, eds., Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, 2014: 23-35.

Genealogies in the Study of Religion in Burma, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, special issue on “Communities of Interpretation in the Study of Burma,”  39(2), pp. 255-267, June 2008.

Educating the 'Other': Buddhism and Colonial Knowledge in Burma, in Buddhism, Power and Political Order, Ian Harris (ed.), Routledge Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism Series, 2007: 52-70.

Acharn Mun (1870-1949); Aung San Suu Kyi (b.19, June, 45); Bodies of the Buddha; Buddhadasa (1926-1993) Disciples of the Budda; Famous Buddhist and Ideal Types; Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-1982); The Life of Siddhartha Gautama; U Nu (1907-1995); in Encyclopedia of Buddhism,  Damien Keown and Charles Prebish, (eds.) London, New York: Routledge. 2007 

Buddhism, Violence and the State in Burma (Myanmar) and Sri Lanka, Disrupting Violence: Religion and Conflict in South and Southeast Asia,  L. Cady and S. Simon, eds., Oxon: Routledge, 2006: 51-69.

Buddhism and Modernity im Myanmar, in Buddhism in World Cultures: Contemporary Perspectives,  ABC-Clio, S. Berkwitz, editor, 2006: 73-100.

“Buddhist Visions of Moral Authority and Civil Society: The Search for the Post-Colonial State in Burma” in Burma at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century (M. Skidmore, ed., Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press, 2005: 113-133). 

Burmese Spirit Lords and their MediumsEncyclopedia of Shamanism, Mariko Walters (ed.), ABC-CLIO, 2004.

Mapping the Sacred in Theravada Buddhist Southeast AsiaSacred Places and Modern Landscapes: Sacred Geography and Social-Religious Transformations in South and Southeast Asia, Ronald Bull (ed.), Program for Southeast Asian Studies Monograph Series, Arizona State University. Pp.1-29, 2004. 

Sacred Biography, in Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Robert Buswell (editor), MacMillan, pp.45-47, 2003.

"Venerating the Buddha's Remains in Burma: From Solitary Practice to the Cultural Hegemony of Communities,” The Journal of Burma Studies, 2001, vol. 6, pp. 111-140.

Paying Homage to the Buddha's Tooth Relic: A Modern Burmese State Ritual. In Frank E. Reynolds and Jason Carbine, editors, A Living Buddhism. Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2000.

"Buddhist Just Rule and Burmese National Culture: State Patronage of the Chinese Tooth Relic in Myanmar." In History of Religions, February 1997, 36:3, pp. 218-243.

In the Presence of the Buddha: Ritual Veneration of the Burmese Mahamuni Image. In Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia, edited by Juliane Schober. Hawaii University Press.

Research Activity: 

 Schober,Juliane S*. Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships grant for Asian Studies at ASU, 2018-22. 

Schober,Juliane Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Fellowship in Buddhist Studies (2018),  AMER COUNCIL OF LEARNED SOC

Schober,Juliane Asia Mediated, Title VI UISFL, PI, faculty and curriculum development (2016-18)

Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
REL 599Thesis
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
REL 599Thesis
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
REL 599Thesis
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 599Thesis
REL 620Theories: Anthropology of Rel
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 352Modern Buddhism
REL 599Thesis
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
REL 599Thesis
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 599Thesis
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 599Thesis
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 690Reading and Conference
ASB 691Seminar
REL 691Seminar
REL 792Research
REL 799Dissertation
  • Juliane Schober. Towards a New Anthropology of Buddhism in Myanmar. Religion and Culture in a Globalized World, UCSIA, University of Antwerpen, Belgium (Aug 2014).
  • Juliane Schober. Rethinking Buddhist Authority and Secular Power in Modern Myanmar. Intenational Association of Buddhist Studies, Wien (Jul 2014).
  • Juliane Schober. Buddhist Interventions in Myanmar: a genealogy of 'political' monks. hosted by UCLA, Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Center for Buddhist Studies (May 2014).
  • Juliane Schober. Merit-Making in Theravada Buddhism and the Anthropology of Giving. Discussing Dana: a Symposium on Buddhist Charity, Princeton University (May 2014).
  • various. Formal & Informal Sectors across Asia. AAS meetings in Philadelphia (Mar 2014).
  • Juliane Schoer. Religion and Public Policy in Burma. Workshop on Managing Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia, Berkeley Center, Georgetown University (Jan 2014).
  • Juliane Schober. Water in Asia. one day symposium at ASU (Apr 2013).
  • Juliane Schober. Theravada Civilizations Project Dissertation and Post-doctoral workshop 2013. annual dissertation workshop (Mar 2013).
  • Juliane Schober. Modern Buddhist Genealogies in Myanmar: Buddhism in a Secular State. University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies, Southeast Asia Center (Oct 2012).
  • Juliane Schober. Monastic Activism in Myanmar. Seattle Art Museum, Gardener Center for Asian Art and Ideas (Oct 2012).
  • Juliane Schober. Modern Iterations of Buddhist Power: In Search of the Dhammaraja Ideal in Burmese Contexts. Meetings of the Association for Asian Studies (Mar 2011).
  • Juliane Schober. Modern Buddhist Encounters - 2 day conference. University of Chicago (Sep 2010).
  • Juliane Schober. The Limits of Buddhist Moral Authority in the Secular State,. European Association of Asian Studies Gothenburg, Sweden, (Aug 2010).
  • Juliane Schober. The Longevity of Weikza. International Burma Studies Conference in Marseille, France, (Jul 2010).
  • Juliane Schober. Theravada Buddhism in Colonial Burma: Modern Formations in a Genealogy of Resistance against the State. National University of Singapore, Buddhist Studies Center, conference (May 2010).
  • Juliane Schober. F.K.Lehman and the Study of Burma. Association for Asian Studies, Philadelphia (Mar 2010).
  • Juliane Schober. F.K.Lehman and the Study of Religion. AAS (Mar 2010).
Honors / Awards: 

2018                         Research Fellow, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in Buddhist Studies

2011                          Nominated for election to the office of Vice-President, Association for Asian Studies

See additional list of grants under Research 


Keynote Lecture: How can the Study of Theravada Buddhism Define its Subject? SOAS, July 14, 2014  



Board Member / Foundation Trustee

2013 –present    Theravada Studies Group, affiliated with AAS, Founder

2012- present     Inya Institute, Academic Board member, in support of civil society and higher education in  Myanmar             

2006-2009          American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (AISLS), board member

1992 - present   Burma Studies Foundation Trustee, elected

1991 - 1995       Secretary Treasurer, Burma Studies Group, elected

1987 – 1993      Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI), board member

Editorial Board Member

2018-                    Routledge Handbook on Theravada Buddhism, Editorial Board

2013-                    Asian Ethnology, Editorial Board,             

2011 -                   The Journal of Burma Studies, International Advisory Board

2007 -                   Critical Studies in Buddhism, Routledge, Editorial Board

2002-2007            Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Editorial Board Member, Rutledge Curzon, London\

1998- 2001           Journal of Asian Studies, monograph review editor for Southeast Asia

1991 - 1995          Bulletin of the Burma Studies Group, Association for Asian Studies, Editor

1989 - 1993          Suvannabhumi, Southeast Asia - Land of Gold, Newsletter, Southeast Asia Studies at ASU

Professional Associations: 
  • Association for Asian Studies
    • Board of Directors, Program Committee (2012-15), Chair (2015). 
    • The Theravada Studies Group, Founder and Chair (2013 - Present)
    • 2004-2007             Southeast Asia Council, elected member
    • 1995/6                    Board of Directors, member
    • 1995/6                    Chair, Southeast Asia Council
    • 1994/5                    Vice Chair, elected, Southeast Asia Council
    • 1993 - 1996          Southeast Asia Council, elected member

American Academy of Religion:

  • 2006-2009            Colonialism and Religion, Steering Committee, member
  • 1997-2002             Buddhism Section, Steering Committee, member, elected​

  Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia:

  •  1987-1989           Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia
  • 1995 - 1996          Committee on Research Materials for Southeast Asia, faculty advisor


Graduate Faculties / Mentoring History: 

Doctoral Committees: Mulung Hsu (chair), Beiyin Deng (chair), Blayne Harcey (chair), Brooke Schedenck (chair), Jordan Johnson (chair), Sherry Harlacher (Art History, member), Joon Sik Hwang (member), Francine Banner (Justice Studies, member), Eiji Suhara (Religious Studies, member)

Master’s Committees: Rehn Kovacic (chair, 2005), Katharine Reinhold (chair,1999), Brenda Whitlock (2005), Sherry Montgomery (2005), Blain Cameaux (Anthropology, 2002), Dean LeVay (2001), Chutavat Noochniyom, (Design, 2001), Jennifer Drinen (1998), Seishu, (1996), Jane Stevenson (1996), Kevin Jacques (1996), Scott Bowden Henderson (1996), Shibani Bakshi (1996), Rochelle Jacobs (1994)

Work History: 

Academic Appointments:

2011- present     Director, Center for Asian Research, Arizona State University

2012                   Interim Faculty Head, Religious Studies, Arizona State University

2010 - present    Professor, Religious Studies, Arizona State University

2009 -2012          Co-Director of Graduate Studies in Religious Studies, Arizona State University

2006                    Interim Director, Program for Southeast Asian Studies, Arizona State University

1997- 2010          Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Arizona State University

1991 - 1997          Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Arizona State University

1988 - 1993          Director, Program for Southeast Asian Studies, Arizona State University


To the Profession:

  • Reviewed manuscripts for The American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology, The Historian, History of Religions, Journal of Asian Studies, Crossroads, Sojourn, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Blackwell Oxon, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Ohio University Press, University of Hawai’i Press, Royal Anthropological Institute, Princeton University Press, State University of New York, Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania Press, Routledge, Columbia University 

  • Evaluated Grant and Fellowship Applications for The Social Science Research Council (IDRF), Southeast Asia Council (AAS/Luce Foundation), National Endowment for the Humanities (Collaborative Research Grants, EDSITEment), American Council of Leaned Societies, Fulbright, Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Prince Claus Fund, Belgium, etc.

  • Evaluated applications for tenure and promotion to full professor at more than a dozen institutions in the US, Europe, Canada and Singapore.

Expertise Areas: