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Associate Professor of Religion, Associate Academic Unit Head
kilbyca@jmu.edu
Contact Info

Education:

Ph.D. University of Virginia, Tibetan Buddhism and Sino-Tibetan Religions

M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School, Buddhist Studies

B.A. Davidson College, Religious Studies, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa

 

Research:

Dr. Kilby is a specialist in Tibetan Buddhism and global Buddhist traditions. Her current research focuses on the intersection of religion and migration by exploring how religion informs human experiences of displacement, resettlement, exclusion, and belonging.

As a Fulbright scholar, Dr. Kilby undertook nine months of fieldwork in Tibetan (Amdo) and Chinese communities where she honed ongoing interests both in contemporary Tibetan religious life and in the status of Buddhism in the modern Chinese state. She has also conducted research among Tibetan refugees in India, Nepal, and the United States. She consults for the International Committee of the Red Cross initiative on "The Interface Between Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law: Reducing Suffering During Armed Conflict."

Teaching:

Dr. Kilby teaches courses in Buddhist studies, religions of the world, and refugee studies.

Publications:

Buddhism and Displacement: A Critical Analysis at the Intersection of Religion, Humanitarianism, and Law. In progress, under contract with Routledge.

"Buddhism, Immigrants, and Refugees." Oxford Bibliographies in Buddhism. 2022.

"The World Is Without Shelter, Without Protector: Buddhism, the Protection of Displaced People, and International Humanitarian Law." Forthcoming in Religion, Religious Groups, and Migration, ed. Deniz Cosan Eke and Eric Trinka.

"The Poetry of Being Human: Toward a Tibetan Wisdom Literature." 2023 (forthcoming). In Living Treasure: Tibetan and Buddhist Studies in Honor of Janet Gyatso. Ed. Holly Gayley and Andrew Quintman. Wisdom Publications.

"Pakpa's Epistolary Manual." 2023 (forthcoming). In Histories of Tibet: Essays in Honor of Leonard W. J. van der Kuijp. Ed. Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Jue Liang, and William A. McGrath. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.

"The Gift of Fearlessness: A Buddhist Framework for the Protection of Vulnerable Populations Under International Humanitarian Law." 2022. Contemporary Buddhism, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14639947.2022.2038027.

"Humanizing the Divine Childhood: Epistolography as Human Formation in Tibetan Buddhism." 2021. Numen Vol. 68 (4): pp. 336-356.

"Printing Tibetan Epistolaria: A Bibliographical Analysis of Epistolary Transformations from Manuscript to Xylograph." 2020. The Journal of Epistolary Studies Vol. 2 (1): pp. 19-33.

"The Buddha’s Positionality." 2020. Wabash Center Journal on Teaching, Volume 1 (1).

"The Global Refugee Crisis and the Gift of Fearlessness." 2019. Journal of Buddhist Ethics Vol. 26: pp. 307-327.

"Bowing with Words: Paper, Ink, and Bodies in Tibetan Buddhist Epistles." 2019. Journal of the American Academy of Religion Vol. 87 (1): pp. 260-281.

“Buddha Dhamma.” 2017. Chapter in Religions of India, pp. 107-137. Edited by Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby. New York: Routledge.

Recent Conference Presentations:

"The Gift of Fearlessness: A Buddhist Principle of Protection." Presentation at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 2022.

"Speech, Script, and the Shamanic-Clerical Paradigm: Insights from Tibetan Letters to Gods, Demons, and Oracles." Presentation at the International Seminar of Young Tibetologists, University of Virginia. 2022.

"The Limits of Karma: Humanitarian Crises and the Ethics of Governmental Responsibility." Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (virtual). 2021.

"Buddhism, International Humanitarian Law, and the Protection of Internally Displaced People." Presentation at The Migration Conference (virtual). 2021.

"Conflict-Induced Displacement and the Gift of Fearlessness: A Buddhist Framework for Refugee and IDP Protection under International Humanitarian Law." Presentation at Reducing Suffering During Armed Conflict: The Interface Between Buddhism and IHL. Dambulla, Sri Lanka. 2019.

"Wisdom, Straight and Crooked: On Wisdom’s Eloquence in Tibetan Literature." Presentation at the XV Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies. Paris, France. 2019.

"Global Refugee Crisis and the Gift of Fearlessness." Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Denver, CO. 2018.

"Negotiating Identities at the Nexus of Fear: Refugees, the State, and the Gift of Fearlessness." Presentation at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C. 2018.

 

Listen to Dr. Kilby's July 2019 interview on With Good Reason here: "Religion in the Refugee Camp."

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