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Annabella Pitkin

Associate Professor

0031 - Williams Hall

B.A. Harvard University

Ph.D. Religion, Columbia University

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Additional Interests

  • Buddhism
  • Buddhist societies
  • Classical and contemporary East Asian religious literature
  • Gender
  • Global Buddhism
  • Buddhist modernities
  • Pop culture
  • Buddhist social/ecological movements


Annabella Pitkin is Associate Professor of Buddhism and East Asian Religions at Lehigh University. Her  research focuses on Tibetan Buddhist modernity, Buddhist ideals of renunciation, miracle narratives, and Buddhist biographies. She received her B.A. from Harvard and Ph.D. in Religion from Columbia, and has lived and traveled extensively in the Himalayan region, China, India, and Nepal. She is the author of Renunciation and Longing: The Life of a 20th Century Himalayan Buddhist Saint.

Her teaching interests include survey courses on classical and contemporary East Asian religious literature, introductory and advanced courses on Buddhism and Buddhist societies, gender in East Asia, global Buddhism and Buddhist modernities, East Asian religion and pop culture, and Buddhist social and ecological movements, as well as theory and method in the study of religion. She also loves to talk with students about the joys and challenges of study abroad.

Dr. Pitkin received a Social Science Research Council Fellowship in 2012-13 for Transregional Research in Asia. Her research has also been supported by the Blakemore-Freeman Foundation, the Fulbright Hays Dissertation Research Fellowship, and the Whiting Dissertation Fellowship. She is on the Editorial Committee of the Treasury of Lives: A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalaya. (