Assistant Professor • Arts & Sciences Council Representative
Religious Studies

Education

Ph.D., Tibetan and Himalayan Studies, Harvard University, 2009
M.A., Buddhist Studies, Naropa University, 2000
B.A., Development Studies, Brown University, 1989

Regional and Thematic Interests

South Asia; Central Asia
Gender; Literature and the Arts; Religion

Profile

Holly Gayley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research focuses on the revitalization of Buddhism in Tibetan areas of the PRC in the post-Maoist period. Dr. Gayley became interested in the academic study of Buddhism through her travels among Tibetan communities in India, Nepal, and China. She completed her Masters in Buddhist Studies at Naropa University in 2000 and Ph.D. at Harvard University in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies in 2009. Dr. Gayley is currently preparing a manuscript on the life and love letters of a contemporary Buddhist tantric couple, who played a significant role in the Buddhist revival in eastern Tibet since the 1980s. The manuscript is tentatively titled, Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet. Her second project explores an ethical reform movement in Tibetan areas of the PRC, particularly in the writings of Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok and scholars at the Buddhist Academy he founded in Serta. Recent publications on this topic include "Reimagining Buddhist Ethics on the Tibetan Plateau (Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 2013) and "The Ethics of Cultural Survival: A Buddhist Vision of Progress in Mkhan po 'Jigs phun's Advice to Tibetans of the 21st Century" in Mapping the Modern in Tibet (International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, 2011).

Selected Publications

2016. Love Letters from Golok: A Buddhist Couple in Modern Tibet. New York: Columbia University Press.

2015. "T-Pop and the Lama: Buddhist 'Rites out of Place' in Tibetan Monastery-Produced VCDs." In Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya, co-edited by Megan Sijapati and Jessica Birkenholtz, Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series.

2013 “Reimagining Buddhist Ethics on the Tibetan Plateau.” The Journal of Buddhist Ethics 20: 247-286.

2011 “The Ethics of Cultural Survival: A Buddhist Vision of Progress in Mkhan po 'Jigs phun's Advice to Tibetans of the 21st Century.” In Mapping the Modern in Tibet. Sankt Augustin, Germany: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies.