Dr. Justin McDaniel received his PhD from Harvard University's Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies in 2003. Presently he teaches Buddhism and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, he is the undergraduate chair of the Department of Religious Studies, a consulting scholar for the Penn Museurn, and member of the graduate faculty groups in South Asia Studies, East Asia Studies, Ancient History, and Art History. His research foci include Lao, That Pali and Sanskrit literature , Southeast Asian Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism, ritual studies, manuscript studies, and Southeast Asian history.
His first book is on the history of Buddhist monastic education in Laos and Thaliand , Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words (Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2008). It won the Harry Benda Prize from the Association of Asian Studies for the best first book in Southeast Asian Studies (2008-2009). His second book IS a study on material culture and ritual in Thai Buddhism : The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magic Monk: Practicing Buddhism in Thailand (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011). His recent publications appear in the Bulletin I Ecole Francaise dÉxtreme-Orient(E’tudes the’matiques), Journal of the International Association of Buddhaist Studies ,Ase’anie , Journal of Religion and Film,Material Religion ,Manusya,and the Journel of the Siam Society ,as well as contributions to collected articles on Buddhism and Modernity,Pali literature,Palm-leaf Manuscript research, and liturgical studies . He has received grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Fullbright Foundation, PACRIM, the Sorel Science Research Council, among others. He is the co-editor of the journals. Buddhism Compass and Journal of Lao Studies, and is the Chair of the Southeast Asian Studies Council of the Association of Asian Studies . He has won teaching and advising awards at Harvard University, Ohio University , and the University of Calfornia at Riverside. In 2012 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow.