Hi, I’m Tyler.Hi, I’m Tyler.
I'm a Ph.D. Student in History & Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. My research and teaching engage the religious and diplomatic history of Indian Ocean Buddhist networks in the early–modern and modern periods.
My dissertation research considers Indian Ocean networks of religious exchange and collaboration between the Buddhist kingdoms of Siam (now Thailand) and Laṇkā (now Sri Lanka) during the mid–eighteenth–century. My investigations aspire to chart the emergence of ethnicity as well as modes of religious, political, and interregional affiliation as these became galvanized and salient in an increasingly interconnected maritime world, especially in the context of the Dutch East India Company’s mediation in and between these polities. In particular, I am captivated by the ways that Buddhist nuns and monks, indigenous kings, European colonial agents—but above all, ordinary people— have both forged and documented maritime networks of cooperation and negotiation across the Bay of Bengal. I am especially keen to trace how these operate(d) as valuable historical resources as they were, and frequently still are, invoked in generations of subsequent historical writing and in contemporary disputes in Southern Asia in the contexts of what we have come to call gender, ethnicity, and contested visions of pluralist religious modernity.
Originally from Northern California, I completed my BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies at the California State University, and my MA in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. My previous MA research, drawn on ethnographic research conducted in Sinhala and English during the winter of 2015–16, centered on strategic representations of Buddhist women’s piety in the overlapping contexts of women’s ordination disputes (bhikkhunī ordination) and gendered nationalist discourse in contemporary Sri Lankan Buddhist politics. In addition to my research and the opportunities for travel, cultural immersion, and language study it opens up, I enjoy road and trail running, hiking, backpacking, reading the occasional novel, going to shows, and especially cooking and eating together with good company.