Erik J. Hammerstrom 韩光

Associate Professor of East Asian and Comparative Religions

Erik Hammerstrom

Office Location:Hauge Administration Building - Room 227-H

Curriculum Vitae: View my CV

  • Professional
  • Biography


  • Ph.D., Religious Studies, Indiana University, 2010
  • M.A., Religion (Asian), University of Hawai'i, 2003
  • B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1997

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Korean and East Asian Religions
  • Early modern Chinese Buddhism


  • The Science of Chinese Buddhism: Early Twentieth - Century Engagements (Columbia University Press, Sheng Yen Series in Chinese Buddhist Studies 2015) : View Book

Selected Presentations

  • Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Huayan Meditation in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Buddhism, Denver, Colorado (November 19-22, 2018)
  • Title, Chinese Buddhism in the Age of Science: the 1920s, University of Oklahoma (October 18, 2018)
  • Title, Millennials and the Future of Our Temples, Center for Buddhist Education, Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley, California (May 4, 2017)
  • 70th Annual Northwest District Convention of the Buddhist Churches of America, The Story of the Buddhist Swastika, the Manji 卍字, Tukwila, Washington (February 17-19, 2017)
  • Buddhism in the Global Eye Conference, Egalitarianism in Transnational Sinitic Buddhist Discourse, University of British Columbia (August 10-12, 2016)


Erik Hammerstrom has felt a deep affinity with Buddhism since he was young. After decades of learning, he now teaches about religion in China and East Asia, with a focus on Buddhism.

In his research he specializes in the intellectual and institutional history of Chinese Buddhism during the modern period. He has studied Buddhist responses to elements of modernity, such as the discourses surrounding both religion and modern science.

His first book,  The Science of Chinese Buddhism: Early Twentieth-Century Engagements, was published in 2015 by Columbia University Press. He has published articles in the Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal 中華佛學學報, the Journal of Global Buddhism, Nova Religio, Theology and Science, and the Journal of Chinese Religion. He co-created the Database of Modern Chinese Buddhism, which he continues to co-edit.

Inspired by its beautiful, holistic vision of reality, Erik recently completed a “biography” of the Huáyán 華嚴 school of Chinese Buddhism, which provided the philosophical foundation for much of East Asian Buddhist thought.

When not engaged in the edifying pursuits of teaching and research, he plays music, supports the Portland Timbers soccer team, and enjoys indie and mainstream tabletop RPGs.