RIJS People Faculty
Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
James Robson is Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University in 2002, after spending many years doing research in China, Taiwan, and Japan. He specializes in the history of Medieval Chinese Buddhism and Daoism and is particularly interested in issues of sacred geography, local religious history, talismans, Chan/Zen Buddhism, and he has been engaged in a long-term collaborative research project with the École Française d’Extrême-Orient studying local religious statuary from Hunan province. He is the author of Power of Place: The Religious Landscape of the Southern Sacred Peak [Nanyue 南嶽] in Medieval China (Harvard Asia Center, 2009), which was awarded the Stanislas Julien Prize for 2010 by the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres [Prix Stanislas Julien by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (Institut de France)] and the 2010 Toshihide Numata Book Prize in Buddhism. He is the author of "Signs of Power: Talismanic Writings in Chinese Buddhism" (History of Religions 48:2), "Faith in Museums: On the Confluence of Museums and Religious Sites in Asia" (PMLA, 2010), and "A Tang Dynasty Chan Mummy [roushen] and a Modern Case of Furta Sacra? Investigating the Contested Bones of Shitou Xiqian." His current research includes a long term project on the history of the confluence of Buddhist monasteries and mental hospitals in Japan.