Jason Thomas Clower
239 Trinity Hall
Chico, CA 95929
California State University, Chico
Assistant professor of religious studies.
Ph.D. 2008. Committee on the Study of Religion (Buddhism). Focus on modern Chinese Buddhism and intellectual history.
University of Chicago
A.M. 2001. Divinity. Focus on history of Chinese and Indian religion and theory and method in study of religion.
The Honors College, Michigan State University
B.A. 1994. Philosophy. Special emphasis on history of philosophy.
“The Unlikely Buddhologist, Mou Zongsan (1909-1995).” Committee: Tu Wei-ming, Robert M. Gimello, Michael Puett, Parimal Patil.
“The Meaning of the Prajñā Scriptures for Mou Zongsan.” Forthcoming in Journal of Chinese Philosophy.
Review of Establishing a Pure Land on Earth: The Foguang Buddhist Perspective on Modernization and Globalization, by Stuart Chandler, China Review International 12.1 (Spring 2005): 67-70.
California State University, Chico, Department of Religious Studies
Course Head, Asian Religions and Buddhism: Fall 2008. Teach 100-level course on major traditions of South and East Asia and reading-intensive 200-level course on Buddhism which blend discussion, group activity, lecture, lab, and demonstration.
“Woodenfish,” the Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Co-founded four-week summer study program (www.woodenfish.org) that brings 50 undergraduate and graduate students to Foguangshan Monastery 佛光山寺from a wide variety of academic backgrounds and universities in the US, Canada, and Europe.
Senior Instructor, Buddhism in China: 2002, 2004-07. Lecture and discussion course emphasizing changes in the tradition from first century CE to present day under varying political and intellectual conditions, for 50 students from a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs.
Senior Instructor, Confucians and Buddhists: 2006. Lecture and discussion course on the social, political, intellectual, and ritual relationships between Confucians and Buddhists in three periods of Chinese history.
Harvard University, Committee on the Study of Religion
Tutor, Buddhist Philosophy in the American Social Context: Fall 2004. Designed and taught full-credit course for two third-year majors in the comparative study of religion. Succeeded in fostering high degree of motivation and diligence for slow, close study of highly difficult readings in Buddhist metaphysics in order to provide underpinning for their interests in Zen in American literature and the female body in traditional and contemporary East Asian Buddhist traditions.
Teaching Fellow, East Asian Buddhism through the Sixth Century: Fall 2003 (Prof. Robert M. Gimello). Held discussion section for graduate students, created and maintained course website, graded written assignments and exams for undergraduate- and master’s-level students, and conducted class in professor’s absence.
Senior Thesis Tutor, “Gary Snyder’s Environmental Ontology: an American Buddhist’s Rethinking of the Sacred in the Context of Environmental Crisis” (by Riley Parker Soles): 2004-05.
Advised thesis that commented on the work of poet Gary Snyder in light of critical scholarly literature on “environmental Buddhism” and the methodology of Mircea Eliade. Student has since progressed to graduate work in Japanese Buddhism.
Harvard University, Department of East Asian Studies
Tutor, Deep Background to the Study of Modern China: Fall 2003. Designed and taught full-credit tutorial for four third-year majors in East Asian studies. Succeeded at acquainting students who were preparing to do research on contemporary China with the necessary background in late imperial and early 20th-century China’s economic, social, religious, governmental, and diplomatic past, with special emphasis on state-society relations.
Teaching Fellow, China – Social Sciences: State Society Relations (Prof. Elizabeth J. Perry): Spring 2004; Fall/Spring 2005. Assisted with required course for East Asian studies majors specializing in the social scientific study of China. Moderated thriving discussion section, created and managed course website and discussion board, and graded written assignments.
Senior Thesis Tutor, “Seizing the Future and Shunning the Dead: Funeral Reform in Rural Wenzhou” (by Abraham Zamcheck): 2006 to 2007. Graduate advisor for prize-winning senior thesis that made outstanding use of Chinese government documents and field interviews to tell the story of a social and political struggle over changes in funeral customs in the central Chinese countryside.
Harvard University, Harvard Extension School
Teaching Fellow, Buddhist Meditation Traditions (Prof. Robert M. Gimello): Spring 2004. Assisted with large evening course for non-traditional students. Directed discussion section and advised and graded final papers.
University of the West, Department of Religious Studies
Instructor, Introduction to Chinese Buddhism: Fall 2004. Designed and taught intensive discussion-based course for small group of non-traditional students, introducing institutional and doctrinal history of Chinese Buddhism with special attention to relationship between Buddhist institutions and government and connection between philosophic thought and Buddhist practice.
“The Unlikely Buddhologist, Mou Zongsan.” Delivered at the XVth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Atlanta, June 24, 2008.
“What Does a New Confucian Want with Tiantai Buddhism?” Delivered at Second International Conference on Contemporary Chinese Buddhism and the Thought of Master Sheng Yen, National Taiwan University, Taipei, May 24, 2008.
“Humanistic Buddhism’s Rivals: Forgotten but Not Gone.” Delivered at the conference “Revisioning Buddhism,” McGill University, Montreal, March 5, 2005.
“Republic of Tantra: Saving China with Tantric Buddhism in the 1920s and 30s.” Delivered at
Fifth Annual Graduate Student Buddhist Studies Conference, University of Michigan, April 5, 2003.
“The Failure of the Emperor Qianlong’s ‘Sangha Certificate’ Reform and How It Changed Modern Chinese Buddhism,” delivered at University of the West, Los Angeles, November 14, 2008.
“Monks with Money in Medieval China: Where It Came From and How It Got Them in Trouble,” delivered as inaugural installment of California State University, Chico Religious Studies Lecture Series, September 25, 2008.
Eighth Annual Buddhist Studies Graduate Student Conference, University of the West, October 13-15, 2006.
Sixth Annual Buddhist Studies Graduate Student Conference, Harvard University, April 9-11, 2004.
Third Annual Buddhist Studies Graduate Student Conference, University of Chicago, March 30-April 1 2001.
Awards and Fellowships
Harvard Summer School Tuition Waiver, Harvard University, Summer 2002
Harvard University Fellowship, 2001-2008
Related Professional Experience
1996-98. Produced, interviewed, and wrote. Stories included Falungong, return of Hong Kong to the PRC, the death of Deng Xiaoping, the revival of institutional Buddhism, and interviews with numerous political dissidents.
Journal of Global Buddhism
Peer Reviewer. October 2008.
Journal of Chinese Philosophy
Peer Reviewer. September 2007 – January 2008.
Related Education Experience
Harvard University, Freshman Dean’s Office
Freshman Proctor, 2004 – 2008. Lived with community of 28 to 34 freshman men and women each year, as academic and residential advisor to help students adjust to college and make academic, athletic, and social decisions.
American Academy of Religion
Association for Asian Studies
International Association of Buddhist Studies
Mandarin Chinese: near-native fluency.
Classical Chinese: reading.
Attic Greek: reading.