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Skidmore College
Religious Studies Department
Ryan Richard Overbey

Ryan Richard Overbey

Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Assistant Professor in Buddhist Studies

On sabbatical for 2021-2022 academic year.

Office:  Ladd 212
Phone:  (518) 580-5412

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Harvard University, Committee on the Study of Religion (2010)
  • A.B., Brown University, Classics & Sanskrit and Religious Studies (2001)

Teaching and Research Interests:

Buddhism, Chinese religions, Indian religions, Tantra, esoteric traditions, ritual, theory and method in the study of religion, digital humanities.

I work at the intersection of ritual and intellectual history in the Buddhist tradition, probing the close links between theory and practice, between philosophy and liturgy. As a philologist, my work focuses on the edition and interpretation of texts preserved in Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tibetan in the first millennium CE. As a scholar and teacher in Religious Studies, I seek to collapse distinctions between “premodern” and “modern,” between “elite” and “popular,” and between “West” and “East.”


  • AS 101 Introduction to Asian Studies
  • RE 230C Buddhism: An Introduction


Articles and Chapters:

  • The Perfection of Wisdom in the Sutras.” In Buddhist stone sutras in China, ed. Claudia Wenzel and Sun Hua, Sichuan Province 3: 123–127. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016.
  • “Vicissitudes of text and rite in the Great Peahen Queen of Spells.” In Tantric traditions in transmission and translation, ed. David B. Gray and Ryan Richard Overbey, 257–283. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • “Scroll 12 and 11 of the Consecration Sutra.” In Buddhist stone sutras in China, ed. Tsai Suey-Ling and Sun Hua, Sichuan Province 2: 24–34. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2015.
  • “On the appearance of siddhis in Chinese Buddhist texts.” In Yoga powers: extraordinary capacities attained through meditation and concentration. Ed. Knut Axel Jacobsen, 127–144. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

Fellowships and Honors:

  • Shinjō Itō Postdoctoral Fellowship in Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2013–2015
  • Harvard Graduate Society Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2008–2009
  • Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 2008
  • Harvard Graduate Student Council Summer Conference Grant, 2008
  • Harvard Extension School Commendation for distinguished teaching performance, 2008
  • Harvard Presidential Instructional Technology Fellowship Award for Achievement in Instructional Technology, 2007
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, 2001–2005
  • Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, 2001