Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Harvard Divinity School
On leave 2015-16.
Janet Gyatso is a specialist in Buddhist studies, concentrating on Tibetan and South Asian cultural and intellectual history. She published Women of Tibet: Past and Present in 2006 (Columbia). Her forthcoming book, Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet (Columbia), focuses on alternative early modernities and the conjunctions and disjunctures between religious and scientific epistemologies in Tibetan medicine in the 16th–18th centuries. She has also written on sex and gender in Buddhist monasticism, and on the current female ordination movement in Buddhism. Previous scholarship has focused on visionary revelation in Buddhism; lineage, memory, and authorship; the philosophy of experience; and autobiographical writing in Tibet. Gyatso served as co-chair of the Buddhism Section of the American Academy of Religion from 2004 to 2010. She teaches lecture courses and advanced seminars on Buddhist history, ritual, and ideas, and on Tibetan literary practices and religious history. In both teaching and writing she draws on cultural and literary theory, and endeavors to widen the spectrum of intellectual resources for the understanding of Buddhist and Tibetan history. She is a member of the FAS Committee on the Study of Religion, the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, and is an active participant in the Harvard Buddhist Studies Forum. She is currently helping to develop a new track for the training of Buddhist lay ministers and leaders in the Master of divinity program at HDS. Gyatso taught at Amherst College before coming to Harvard as the Divinity School's first Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies. Gyatso earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley.