Indiana University Bloomington
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Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)

Richard Nance :: Faculty

Picture of Richard Nance

Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Central Eurasian Studies

Office: Sycamore 230
Phone: (812) 855-6159


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2004

Research Interests

Indian and Tibetan Buddhist history, philosophy, rhetoric, and ritual

Personal Statement
I am a specialist in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions; to date, my work has focused chiefly on Buddhism as practiced during the first millennium CE. Broadly, I am interested in the ways in which doctrines inform, and are informed by, practices—more specifically, in questions of how protocols for teaching, learning, and interpreting Buddhist texts have shifted over time as these protocols have themselves been taught, learned, and interpreted, in both India and Tibet. Recent projects have included a study of historical shifts in the accounts of reasoning (yukti) articulated by Buddhist scholastics, and a treatment of the figure of the preacher in Indian Buddhist history and literature. My current projects include a book-length study of Indian Buddhist commentarial practice, tentatively entitled Speaking for Buddhas, and a study of the divergent stances taken by Buddhists toward the practice of lying in the service of propagating Buddhist teaching.

Publication Highlights

Speaking for Buddhas: Scriptural Commentary in Indian Buddhism. (Columbia University Press, 2012)

"The Voice of Another: Speech, Responsiveness, and Buddhist Philosophy." Forthcoming in S. Emmanuel, ed. A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
"Tall Tales, Tathagatas and Truth: On the 'Privileged Lie' in Indian Buddhist Literature." Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (2010 (2011)).
"Indian Buddhist Preachers Inside and Outside the Sūtras." Blackwell Religion Compass (February, 2008)
"On What Do We Rely When We Rely on Reasoning?" Journal of Indian Philosophy (April 2007)

Honors and Awards
Research Grant, Committee on South Asian Studies, University of Chicago (1999-2000 and 2002-2003)
Henry Luce Dissertation Fellowship, University of Chicago Divinity School (2001-2002)