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Christopher Hiebert

PhD 2022


  • University of Toronto: B.A. (Hons., 2012)

Research Interests

My academic interests, broadly construed, center around the historical development of the literary, intellectual, and religious cultures of Tibet and the Himalayan region. My current research focuses on the Rimé (non-sectarian) movement in Kham (eastern Tibet) during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and, in particular, on the development of scholastic learning and monastic education at Śrī Singha monastic college at the Nyingma monastery of Dzogchen during the latter half of the 19th century. I am particularly interested in the figures of Zhenphen Thaye (1800-1855), who founded Śrī Singha, and Zhenphen Chökyi Nangwa (1971-1927), who is best known for his annotation commentaries on the "Thirteen Great Texts" of Nyingma scholastic learning. I am currently translating a text on scholastic learning by Zhenphen Chökyi Nangwa entitled, A Mirror Clarifying Proper Knowledge: A Treatise on the Six Topics of Scholarship (mkhas par bya ba'i gnas drug bstan pa shes bya gsal ba'i me long). I am also greatly interested in Sanskrit literary culture and in issues of self-representation and identity in contemporary religious communities in South Asia. I have a long-standing interest in method and theory in the study of religion. I am particularly interested in the ways that multiple theoretical perspectives (sociological, hermeneutic, rhetorical, historical, ethnographic) could be utilized in concert to better understand the development of textual and intellectual communities.


Teaching Assistant, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia:

  • RELB 2090 - Hinduism (Fall, 2014)    
  • RELB 1040 - Introduction to Eastern Religions (Fall, 2013)
  • RELB 2165 - Buddhist Meditation and Modernity: Culture, Science, and Experience (Spring, 2013)  
  • RELB 2054 - Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism (Fall, 2012)

Conference Papers

  • “Buddhist Modernism and the Rise of Evidence-Based Contemplative Therapeutics” Presented at The Society for Psychological Anthropology Biennial Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 5, 2013.
  • “Parallax Visions: Identity and Place in Contemporary Tibetan Exile Communities.” Presented to the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, April 24, 2012.


  • Clay Fellow, Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures (University of Virginia), May 2013 – May 2014
  • Undergraduate Research Fellow, Jackman Humanities Institute (University of Toronto), June 2011- May 2012


  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) (Academic Year Award) - Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Virginia. (awarded, not dispersed), 2014
  • Clay Grant, Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures (University of Virginia) ($9570) - May, 2013.
  • University of Toronto Excellence Award for Undergraduate Research, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($5625) – April 2011


  • St. Michael’s College Governor General’s Gold Medal in Humanities and Social Sciences (Highest GPA of graduating class, St. Micheal's College, University of Toronto) – June 2012

Academic Service

  • President, Buddhist Studies Group at the University of Virginia - January 2013 – August, 2014.
  • Conference Organizer, 2014 Graduate Conference in Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia (Feb 28-March 2, 2014) - April 2013 - March 2014