Christie Kilby


Assistant Professor of Religion
Year Started at JMU: 2016
Contact Info


Ph.D., University of Virginia

M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School

B.A., Davidson College


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."


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

Select Publications:

"The Gift of Fearlessness: A Buddhist Framework for the Protection of Vulnerable Populations Under International Humanitarian Law." Forthcoming in Contemporary Buddhism.

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

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

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

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

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

“Buddha Dhamma.” Chapter in Religions of India, second edition. Edited by Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby. Routledge, 2017.

Recent Conference Presentations:

"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 her July 2019 interview on With Good Reason here: "Religion in the Refugee Camp."

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