- 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 Huayan University Network: The Teaching and Practice of Avataṃsaka Buddhism in Twentieth-Century China (Columbia University Press, Sheng Yen Series in Chinese Buddhist Studies 2020) : View Book
- The Science of Chinese Buddhism: Early Twentieth - Century Engagements (Columbia University Press, Sheng Yen Series in Chinese Buddhist Studies 2015) : View Book
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.