Religious Studies Student Won 20-21 Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship

Religious Studies doctoral candidate Blayne Harcey is the recipient of the 2020-21 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship. The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Program provides opportunities to doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. Blayne plans to conduct 12 months of research in Nepal and India beginning in May 2021 with the support of the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship.

Blayne’s dissertation project, "Locating Lumbini: Transnational Buddhism and the Construction of World Heritage in Nepal" engages the Buddha’s birthplace at Lumbini, in the Terai region of Nepal, as a case study for exploring the complicated material outcomes of Buddhist encounters with modernity. Manufactured as an imagined epicenter for pan-Buddhist ecumenicism beginning in the late 1960’s Lumbini has taken center stage in the formation of a transnational network of Buddhist actors and institutions. Blayne’s project explores how the process of rediscovery, excavation, and development of the Buddha's birthplace has been shaped by, and is shaping, global Buddhism and its transnational movement of ideas, commodities, and people. Central to Blayne’s research at Lumbini is a focus on the shifting material effects engendered by the logics of development operative within organizations like UNESCO, that have underwritten these projects of development in “third world” Asia. Blayne has conducted previous research in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.

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