H-140. The History & Culture of the Tibetan Book

Benjamin J. Nourse Kurtis R. Schaeffer

Course description coming soon.

Course History

Benjamin J. Nourse & Kurtis R. Schaeffer co-teach this course.


  • Benjamin J. Nourse
  • Kurtis R. Schaeffer

Benjamin J. Nourse

Ben Nourse is assistant professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Denver. His current research explores the growth and impact of Tibetan woodblock publishing from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. He is also working on a study of Chinese and Tibetan manuscripts of the Heart Sūtra discovered at Dunhuang. He has been active in promoting the study of Tibetan book history through the hosting of conferences such as The Symposium on the Tibetan Book (University of Virginia, 2014) and Buddhist Book Cultures (University of Denver, 2017) as well as co-editing a forthcoming volume on material approaches to the study of Tibetan books. He has received numerous fellowships and grants including a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, a Florence Tan Moeson Fellowship from the Asian Division of the Library of Congress, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School, and grants from the University of Wisconsin Libraries and the Jefferson Trust. He received a B.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.

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Kurtis R. Schaeffer

Kurtis R. Schaeffer is the Frances Myers Ball Professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He co-directs the Tibetan Buddhist studies graduate program at UVA. Kurtis was first introduced to the field of book history in a course on the history of the book in America offered in the late 1990s by David Hall at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2000. Since then his work has been impacted by the synergy created in book history between intellectual, social, and material modes of investigation and interpretation. This impact culminated in the publication of The Culture of the Book in Tibet (Columbia University Press, 2009). Kurtis is the author, editor, or translator of eight other books, including recently The Life of the Buddha by Tenzin Chögyel (Penguin Classics, 2015), The Tibetan History Reader (Columbia University Press, 2012), and Sources of Tibetan Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2012), which is the largest English anthology of Tibetan literature published to date. Among his recent projects, he has just co-created a literary and visual life of the Buddha based upon a four-century old mural of the Buddha’s story located in Western Tibet (lifeofthebuddha.org). He is currently completing a collection of Buddhist meditation literature for Penguin Classics. You can learn more about Kurtis’ work at the Department of Religious Studies (https://virginia.academia.edu/KurtisSchaeffer), and read some of his articles at https://virginia.academia.edu/KurtisSchaeffer

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