Information for

Jeff Wilson

Associate Professor, Religious Studies and East Asian Studies

a photo of Jeff Wilson in his graduation robe

Jeff Wilson

Associate Professor, Religious Studies and East Asian Studies

Note: Dr. Wilson has Approved Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor status and is accepting doctoral students.


  • PhD - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
  • Master of Arts - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
  • Bachelor of Arts - Sarah Lawrence College

Undergraduate courses offered:

  • Introduction to Religion (RS 125)
  • Religions of East Asia (RS 201/EA 205R)
  • Buddhism (RS 204)
  • Japanese Religion (RS 206/EA 206R)
  • Chinese Religion (RS 207/EA 207R)
  • Islam in North America (RS 217)
  • Religion in America (RS 219)
  • Sacred Places in North America (RS 222)
  • The Study of Religion (RS 260)
  • Thematic Approaches to Religion in Film (RS 271/FINE 253)
  • Religion and Japanese Film (RS 275/EA 275R)
  • Pure Land Buddhism (RS 301/EA 301R)
  • Zen Buddhism (RS 304)
  • Buddhism in North America (RS 327)
  • Religious Quests (RS 374)

Graduate courses offered:

  • Religious Diversity in North America (RS 700)
  • Themes in the Study of Unitarian Universalism (RS 703) 
  • Themes in Buddhism in North America (RS 703)
  • History of Religion in North America (RS 705)


  • Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014)

  • Dixie Dharma: Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South (University of North Carolina Press, 2012)
  • Mourning the Unborn Dead: A Buddhist Ritual Comes to America (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Selected articles:

  • “Fear, Trembling, and Joy”: Unitarian Universalism and Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S. and Canada, 1973-1984.” Journal of Unitarian Universalist History, vol. 36 (May 2013): 84-111

  • "'All Beings Are Equally Embraced By Amida Buddha:’ Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and Same-Sex Marriage in the United States.” Journal of Global Buddhism, vol. 13 (June 2012): 31-59
  • “‘Which One of You is the Bride?’ Unitarian Universalism and Same-Sex Marriage in North America, 1957-1972.” Journal of Unitarian Universalist History, vol. 35 (Spring 2012): 156-172.
  • “What is Canadian about Canadian Buddhism?” Religion Compass, vol. 5, no. 9 (September 2011): 536-548.
  • “Mapping the American Buddhist Terrain: Paths Taken and Possible Itineraries.” Religion Compass, vol. 3, no. 5 (September 2009): 836-846
  • “‘Deeply Female and Universally Human:’ The Rise of Kuan-yin Worship in America.” Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol. 23, no. 3 (October 2008): 285-306
  • “Pure Land Iconography and Ritual Intent: A Comparative Study of the Visualization Texts Kuan Wu-Liang-Shou-Fo Ching and Amitabha Sadhana.” Pure Land, no. 22 (December 2006): 167-186
  • “Aesthetics of American Zen: Tradition, Adaptation, and Innovation in the Rochester Zen Center Garden.” Japan Studies Review, vol. IX (May 2005): 101-114

Selected professional activities:

  • Member, Arts Graduate Training and Professionalization Task Force

  • Founder and Chair, Buddhism in the West Consultation at the American Academy of Religion
  • Graduate Officer, University of Waterloo Religious Studies Department 
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Global Buddhism
  • Advisory Board Member, Oxford Bibliographies Online

Please visit Jeff Wilson’s website for more information about his teaching and research.

University of Waterloo

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