Associate Professor of South Asian Religious Literatures
Primary Office: LIT 326
Primary Phone: Contact Department
Quarterly Office Hours
UCSD Hellman Fellow
Buddhism; Religiosity in South Asia; Theory in the Study of Religion
Richard S. Cohen, Associate Professor of South Asian Religious Literatures, received a B.A. and M.A. in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University. He completed his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at the University of Michigan in 1995. Presently he is engaged in two research projects. The first explores articulations of authority and power in a fifth-century C.E. Buddhist scripture, entitled, "The Splendid Vision in which One Observes Living Beings and Reveals Buddha Fields through the Empowerment of All Tathagatas." The second project is a broad inquiry into "wisdom." The work begins with a general theory of wisdom, by analyzing the discursive construction of wisdom-claims and counterclaims. It then uses the Buddhist topos of "The Four Immeasurables" love, compassion, joy, serenity to imagine a politics of wisdom that is neither founded upon, nor foundational for, a (crypto)theological imaginary.
Selected Publications: (Additional Information )
Beyond Enlightenment: Buddhism, Religion, Modernity. Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2006.
"Ajanta’s Inscriptions." In Walter M. Spink, Ajanta: History And Development, volume 2: Arguments About Ajanta. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2006. pages 273-339.
"Response: The Circle Without a Center: Rethinking Religious Authority in India"; Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 73/1 (March 2005): 133-50.
"Why Study Indian Buddhism?" In Derek R. Peterson and Darren R. Walhof, eds, The Invention of Religion: Rethinking Belief in Politics and History. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002. pages 19-36.
"Shakyamuni: Buddhism’s Founder in Ten Acts." In David Noel Freedman and Michael McClymond, eds, The Rivers of Paradise: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus and Muhammad as Religious Founders. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. pages 121-232, 663-71.
"Kinsmen of the Son: Sakyabhiksus and the Institutionalization of the Bodhisattva Ideal," History of Religions. 40/1 (August 2000): 1-31.
"Naga, Yaksini, Buddha: Local Deities and Local Buddhism at Ajanta," History of Religions. 37/4 (May 1998): 360-400.
"Discontented Categories: Hinayana and Mahayana in Indian Buddhist History" Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 63/1 (Spring 1995): 1-25.