Professional activities

Teaching and research are the primary duties of a professor, but there are also many other professional activities that I am involved in.  One of my main venues of professional interaction has been the American Academy of Religion.  In 2007 I founded the Buddhism in the West Group of the AAR, which holds sessions at the annual AAR conference.  We seek to showcase new scholarship on Buddhism in the Americas, Europe, Australia, and the broader West, and foster discussion around trends in theory and historiography.  Many papers first presented at our sessions have gone on to become journal publications or dissertation projects.  I served as chair of the Group for two terms and am now a member of the steering committee, under the able leadership of David McMahan.

In addition to my work for the Buddhism in the West Group, I have presented papers at the annual AAR conference to the Buddhism Section; the North American Religions Section; the Religion, Food, and Eating in North America Group; the Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group; the Ritual Studies Group; the Religion and Cities Consultation; the Queer Studies in Religion Consultation; the Liberal Theologies Consultation; and the Zen Buddhism Seminar.  Selected other society meetings where I have presented papers include the American Historical Association; the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion; the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion; the Society for Comparative and Asian Philosophy; and the International Association for Shin Buddhist Studies.  I am a frequent invited speaker at universities throughout the world, such as Aarhus University, Heidelberg University, the University of Virginia, Smith College, the University of California at Berkeley, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Lethbridge.  In an effort to bridge the divide between the ivory tower and the wider community I do many lectures and presentations for non-academic audiences, such as churches, temples, and community centres.  For this reason I also provide occasional media appearances for television and radio, interviews for various newspapers, magazines, and news services, and contribute to various academic and religious blogs.

When time permits, I like to provide reviews of interesting new scholarship.  Recent examples include reviews of Josh Paddison’s American Heathens: Race Religion and Reconstruction in California for the journal Church History, Michihiro Ama’s Immigrants to the Pure Land: The Modernization, Acculturation, and Globalization of Shin Buddhism, 1898-1941 for the journal The Eastern Buddhist, and the co-edited volume Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada by John Harding, Victor Hori, and Alexander Soucy for Journal of Global Buddhism.  Other venues that have featured my reviews include Journal of Buddhist-Christian Studies, Nova Religio, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, and Journal of Asian Studies.

I have a long history of editorial work, performed in a variety of capacities.  Today I serve as an editorial board member for the Journal of Global Buddhism, an advisory board member for Oxford Scholarship Online, and consulting editor for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.  Some past highlights include guest editing a special section of Pacific World in 2010 and serving as the editor and field researcher for the Buddhism in North Carolina project from 2001-2006.  When time permits I perform book manuscript reviews for academic presses, such as Oxford University Press, University of Hawaii Press, and State University of New York Press, as well as providing peer review for manuscript submissions to Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Journal of Contemporary Religion, American Studies Journal, Boom: A Journal of California, and others.

Perhaps one of my proudest early achievements was my selection for the highly competitive Young Scholars in American Religion program of the Center for Religion and American Culture, at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis.  I served in the 2010-2012 cohort alongside some of the finest junior colleagues I have had the privilege of meeting, and benefited tremendously from our peer work and the mentorship of Anne Braude, Mark Valerie, and Philip Goff.  And I’ve done my best to convey some of the professionalization I received through this experience to the PhD students in my program.


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