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  • Ph.D., Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University (2000)
  • A.M., Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University (1998)
  • M.A. Candidate, Asian Languages, University of Washington (1994-1995)
  • B.A., Asian Studies, University of Toronto (1994)

Courses Taught

Religious Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies Courses

  • Religion and Reality
  • Understanding Religious Traditions in a Global Context
  • Buddhisms
  • East Asian Religious Traditions
  • South Asian Religious Traditions
  • Chinese Religious Traditions
  • Comparative Religious Ethics
  • Biographies of the Buddha (and His Substitute Bodies)
  • Interpreting Buddhist Literature
  • Objects of Devotion
  • Secularism and Fundamentalism
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religion
  • Translating the Liberal Arts
  • Finding Yourself on the Page: A Capstone Course for Writers of All Disciplines
  • Senior Thesis in Religious Studies
  • How to Do Things With Words

Language Courses

  • Introduction to Sanskrit
  • Intermediate Sanskrit
  • Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
  • Classical Tibetan

Study-Abroad Courses

  • Chinese Cities in Transition (taught partly in China)
  • Developing Intercultural Competencies (preparing for study abroad)
  • Reflection and Integration (reflecting on study abroad)

Research Interests

My research examines textual practices in premodern Mahāyāna Buddhist literary cultures, especially ritual uses of texts, oral performance, and translation. I also explore how Mahāyāna literature might offer us critical purchase on a range of contemporary ethical and and philosophical debates. See my Academia page for more details.


Selected Publications:

The Language of the Sūtras: Essays in Honor of Luis O. Gómez, Mangalam Research Center, forthcoming (executive editor).

“Texts and Rituals,” in The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Practice, edited by Paula Arai and Kevin Trainor. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

“Translating the Buddha’s Body,” in Translating Buddhism: Collected Essays on Translation Theory and Practice, edited by Alice Collett. New York: SUNY Press, forthcoming.

“The Scandal of the Speaking Buddha: Performative Utterance and the Erotics of the Dharma,” in Buddhist Literature as Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy as Literature, edited by Rafal K. Stepien. New York: SUNY Press, 2020.

“Sūtra Time,” in The Language of the Sūtras: Essays in Honor of Luis O. Gómez, edited by Natalie Gummer. Mangalam Research Center, forthcoming.

“Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra,” in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Volume One: Literature and Languages, edited by Jonathan Silk, Oskar von Hinüber, and Vincent Eltschinger, 249-260. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

“Sacrificial Sūtras: Mahāyāna Literature and the South Asian Ritual Cosmos,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 82, no.4 (2014): 1091-1126.

“Listening to the Dharmabhāṇaka: The Buddhist Preacher in and of the Sūtra of Utmost Golden Radiance,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 80, no.1 (2012): 137-160.

Defining Buddhism(s): A Reader, Equinox Publishing, 2007 (co-editor with Karen Derris).

Natalie Dawn Gummer

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies

 Email:  Phone: 608-363-2346   Room 215, Morse-Ingersoll Hall
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  • Natalie Gummer
  • Natalie Gummer

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