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New HCTS Professor of Buddhist Studies: Michael Radich

Apr 26, 2018

Prof. Michael Radich took up the Professorship of Buddhist Studies at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS). He joined the HCTS in January 2018 and aims to contribute to strengthening the scientific intersection between Buddhist Studies and Transcultural Studies.

“I see great potential in the intersection of Buddhist Studies and Transcultural Studies. I would like to see us contribute to two main sets of questions: What light can a transcultural perspective cast on Buddhism? What insights can the study of Buddhism contribute to our understanding of transcultural dynamics?” Radich explains. With his new position at the HCTS, he hopes to address those questions and to contribute to maintaining Heidelberg’s status as one of the main centres of Buddhist Studies in Germany and Europe.

Before becoming the new HCTS professor for Buddhist Studies, Radich held visiting positions at Kyoto University, the University of Hamburg, and at Victoria University of Wellington, in his home country of New Zealand. He conducted his PhD at Harvard University in 2007 with a dissertation on the history of Buddhist ideas about the various embodiments of Buddhahood.

His current research focuses on questions of attribution and associated problems of dating for texts in the Chinese Buddhist canon. Therefore, he uses software tools called TACL, which he developed together with a programmer colleague. He is also in the process of building a user-contributor online database, which enables scholars to keep track of arguments and evidence, in both primary and secondary literatures, pertaining to the attributions of Chinese Buddhist texts.

Starting in the summer semester 2018, Ruixuan Chen and Camille Simon joined Radich’s team. Ruixuan Chen is Radich’s Assistant Professor. Before that, he worked as PhD employee at Leiden University’s Institute for Area Studies (LIAS). Chen is a scholar of Buddhism whose research interest mainly focuses on India and Central Asia in pre-Islamic times and concentrates on a better historical understanding of transcultural dynamics in the transmission of Buddhism across geographical and cultural boundaries.

Camille Simon took up the position as Tibetan Lecturer within the Professorship of Buddhist Studies. She is affiliated with the multidisciplinary research institute "Langues et Civilisations à Tradition Orale" (LACITO) at the French national scientific research network CNRS. The CNRS is closely linked to Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, where Simon received her PhD. She further worked at the "Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales."


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  • Prof. Michael Radich

  • Camille Simon, PhD

  • Ruixan Chen