Matthew King

Matthew-KingAssistant Professor
(951) 500-0545

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Matthew King is Assistant Professor of Transnational Buddhism in the Department of Religious Studies at UCR. His teaching and research broadly focuses on Tibetan and Mongolian religious identities in their transnational contexts since the early twentieth century; for example, Buddhist monastic historiography in circulation between immigrant populations in the greater LA area, Ulaanbaatar, and Tibetan refugee monasteries in South India. Specific research interests include: Buddhist movements during the imperial-socialist transition in Tibetan and Mongolian cultural regions; Buddhism, science, and secularism in Inner Asia; Buddhist economics; and the global circulation of knowledge about Buddhism and Buddhist peoples. He is working on his first book project, which investigates the historiography and (auto)biography of the Khalkha Mongol polymath Zawa Damdin Luwsandamdin (1867-1937), an abbot and late critic of modernist movements just before the socialist purges of Mongolia’s monastic population in 1937. Dr. King lectures widely on Buddhist traditions, rhetoric and discipline in Buddhist studies, and method and theory in the study of religion. His articles have appeared in journals such as the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and History & Anthropology. He has also contributed chapters to recent volumes on Inner Asia published by Brill, Oxford, and Routledge. At UCR in 2014-2015, Dr. King will be participating in a Mellon Foundation-funded seminar series at the Center for Ideas and Society called “Advancing Intercultural Studies”.


Ph.D. Religious Studies, University of Toronto

M.A. Religious Studies, University of Toronto

Hon. B.A. Socio-Cultural Anthropology, University of Toronto


Association for Asian Studies, Best Graduate Student Paper on China and Inner Asia, 2013

Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, 2010-2013

Julia Ching Memorial Fellowship in Chinese Thought and Culture, 2012

Khyentse Foundation Doctoral Scholarship, 2012

Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation Lotus Scholarship, 2011

Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion Doctoral Field Research Scholarship, 2010

Ontario Graduate Scholarship 2009-2011

Arts and Science Language Study Grant (University of Toronto), 2009

Canadian Society for the Study of Religion Graduate, First Place in Student Essay Contest 2009

Research Area

Languages: Tibetan, Mongolian, French, German.

Academic Publications

Articles (Peer Reviewed)

With Pamela Klassen. “Suppressing the Mad Elephant: Missionaries, Lamas, and the Mediation of Sacred Historiographies in the Tibetan Borderlands,” History and Anthropology. (approved 09/2014)

With Frances Garrett et al. “Narratives of Hospitality and Feeding in Tibetan Ritual,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 81 (2): 491-515.

Book Chapters (Peer Reviewed)

“Modernities, Sense-Making, and the Inscription of Mongolian Buddhist Place,” Buddhism in Mongolian History, Society, and Culture, ed. Vesna Wallace. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (approved 05/2014)

“Like Giving Milk to a Snake: A Socialism of the Buryat-Mongol Buddhist Imaginary,” Buddhist Socialisms in Asia: An Historical Perspective, ed. Patrice Ladwig. London; New York: Routledge. (approved 06/2014)

“The Buddha Hidden Below the Sand: Youth, Identity and Narrative in the Revival of Mongolian Buddhism,” in Change in Democratic Mongolia: Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining, ed. Julian Dierkes. Leiden: Brill. pp. 17-30. (2012)

Scholarly Research Reviews

“Central Asian Buddhism,” The Oxford Handbook Series (forthcoming 2014)

“Buddhist Economics,” The Oxford Handbook Series (forthcoming 2014)

Book Reviews

Katherine Swancutt. 2012. Fortune and the Cursed: The Sliding Scale of Time in Mongolian Divination. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books. Asian Ethnology (approved 11/2013).

Anne Chayet, Cristina Scherrer-Schaub, Françoise Robin, and Jean-Luc Achard, eds., Edition, Éditions: L’Écrit au Tibet, Évolution et Devenir. (eds.). Collectanea Himalayica 3. In Journal of the American Oriental Society 132 (1) (Jan-Feb. 2012): 103-5.

Other Forthcoming Publications (2014-2015)

“Surveys of Monastic Colleges as Polemic in Zawa Damdin’s Golden Book (T. gser gyi deb ther; M. altan dewter),” Mongolian Studies 35 (2014/2015).

“The Search for an ‘Historical’ King Gesar Between Monastery and Academy in Modernizing Inner Asia,” Himalaya (2014-2015). 

Works in Progress (2015)


Book Length Manuscript tentatively titled ‘Like Mixing Water and Milk:   Buddhism and Knowledge Between Imperialism and Socialism in Inner Asia’.

Articles (Peer Reviewed)

“The ‘Pilgrimage of Faxian’ in Translation and On the Move in Revolutionary Mongolia” (forthcoming)

“Emancipation or Decay?: The Time of Social Imagination in Revolutionary Mongolia ” (forthcoming)

“Why Don’t We Write About Shukden (rDo rje shugs ldan)? The Dorje Shukden Schism, and Formative Allegiances in the Academic Study of Buddhism.” (forthcoming)