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Three Decades and Eighteen PhDs: The Tibetan and Buddhist Studies Legacy of Jeffrey Hopkins at the University of Virginia
This symposium marks the retirement of Jeffrey Hopkins after more than three decades of teaching, research, and service at the University of Virginia (UVa). Professor Hopkins has been one of the main leaders of Asian Studies at the University of Virginia over the last three decades, including his founding of UVa’s world-famous Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies programs, his directing of the Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS), and his remarkable literary output. He is one of the most renowned Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies scholars of his generation. CSAS is honoring his exceptional achievements and contributions to UVa on the occasion of his retirement by organizing a symposium at UVa on April 8 and 9, 2005. The symposium is devoted to Jeffrey Hopkins’ legacy in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies through the medium of his students.
For more than three decades (1973-present), Jeffrey Hopkins has been one of the most brilliant lights in UVa’s scholarly pantheon. He founded the Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies programs at UVa, which have grown into world-famous programs in which he personally directed eighteen completed doctorates and thirty-one masters. Hopkins directed the Center for South Asian Studies at UVa for twelve years (1979-82, 1985-94). His great contributions to the University administration were capped by his organizing and directing the “Nobel Peace Laureates Conference: Human Rights, Conflict, and Reconciliation” presented by the Institute for Asian Democracy and the University of Virginia on November 5 and 6, 1998, at the University of Virginia (conference website: http://www.virginia.edu/nobel/). This involved nine Nobel Peace Laureates gathering at UVa for an event that garnered international recognition. He was president of the Institute for Asian Democracy, Washington, D.C., from 1994-2000, has testified on multiple occasions before various US Senate and House Committees, and is famed for his work as an official interpreter of the Dalai Lama from 1979 to 1996 during foreign tours. Outside of the University, Hopkins has been one of the most famous scholars of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the world. His scholarly output is astonishing: thirty-four books including research monographs, language textbooks, translations, and popular books. Their global popularity is indicated by their translation into twenty-two languages worldwide including Czech, Swedish, Japanese, Thai, Croatian, Greek, and other more common languages. In his publications and through his students, Hopkins has been arguably the most important scholar in effecting the shift of Tibetan Studies, a relatively young field, to a focus on in-depth language mastery, on Tibetan cultural achievements in their own right rather than as ancillary to India, and on the need for careful and systematic study of Tibetan intellectual systems in their own terms. His achievements have been recognized in his appointment as the Yehan Numata Distinguished Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Hawaii, as Distinguished Visiting Professor, Religious Studies, at the University of British Columbia, and as a Fulbright-Hays fellow in 2002-3.
Professor Hopkins’ doctoral students have gone on to become leaders in academics and affiliated professions, including leading new graduate programs in Buddhist Studies (University of Michigan and Rice University), leading a large international initiative in humanities computing (the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library), directing the Tibetan service of the Voice of America, directing the Tibetan Nuns Project, and producing a huge body of scholarship and translations. The symposium will gather together a preponderance of these leaders, all of whom originally received their doctorates at the University of Virginia with Hopkins as their advisor. Each scholar will present her or his own current research and activities, which as a whole will constitute a temporary visual and sonic representation of the enduring mandala of Hopkins’ influence over the past three decades. We invite the University and local community to join us the afternoon of the eighth and the morning of the ninth for this celebration of one of UVa’s great luminaries.
All events are held on grounds at the University of Virginia. This event is made possible through the generous financial support of the Weedon Foundation, the College of Arts and Sciences, Special Lectures, and the Department of Religious Studies. The order of presentations is structured in reverse chronological order of PhDs granted, with Professor Hopkins’ most recent PhD speaking first and his first PhD speaking last. Thus the structure of the conference will exhibit in successive layers the type of intellectual activity that he has stimulated in his students over more than three decades of teaching. Each person will speak for approximately twenty minutes; there will be a short break at the mid-point each day, along with brief introductory and concluding remarks.
- Opening Comments by Daniel Ehnbom, Director of the Center for South Asian Studies
- Introduction by David Germano, Associate Professor of Tibetan Buddist Studies
- Than Garson (University of Virginia, 2004, unable to attend)
- Derek Maher (East Carolina University, 2003)
- Steven Weinberger (University of Virginia, 2003)
- Bryan J. Cuevas (Florida State University, 2000)
- William Magee (Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, 1998)
- Jules Levinson (Berotsana, 1994)
- Leah Zahler (1994, deceased)
- Kathy Rogers (1992, not giving presentation)
- Georges Dreyfus (Williams College, 1991)
- John Powers (Australian National University, 1991)
- Brief comments from UVa Faculty
Following the conclusion of the afternoon session, there will be a reception in the Clark Hall Mural Room, 5-7 pm.
- Dan Cozort (Dickinson College, 1989)
- Guy Newland (Central Michigan University, 1988)
- Elizabeth Napper (Tibetan Nuns Project, 1985)
- Joe Wilson (UNC-Wilmington, 1984, unable to attend)
- Dan Perdue (Virginia Commonwealth University, 1983)
- John Buescher (Voice of America, 1982)
- Donald Lopez (University of Michigan, 1982)
- Anne Klein (Rice University, 1981)
- Concluding remarks by Jeffrey Hopkins
For a complete description of the presentations, please click here. The papers will not be circulated in advance, nor will they be available subsequently.