Professor Welter’s area of academic study is Chinese Buddhism, and he has published in the area of Japanese Buddhism as well. His main research focuses on the study of Buddhist texts in the transition from the late Tang (9th century) to the Song dynasty (10th-13th centuries). In recent years, he has published Monks, Rulers, and Literati: The Political Ascendancy of Chan Buddhism (Oxford, 2006), The Linji lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy: The Development of Chan’s Records of Sayings Literature (Oxford, 2008), and Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu: A Special Transmission within the Scriptures (Oxford, 2011), in addition to numerous articles. He is currently working on two projects: a comparative analysis of the dialogue records (yulu or goroku) attributed to Chan masters, compiled in the early Song dynasty; and the social and institutional history of Buddhism as conceived through a text also compiled in the early Song dynasty, Zanning’s Topical History of Buddhism (Seng shilue). Stemming from this latter research interest, Professor Welter has also developed a broader interest in Chinese administrative policies toward religion, including Chinese notions of secularism and their impact on religious beliefs and practices. His work also encompasses Buddhist interactions with Neo-Confucianism and literati culture.
The development and exchange of scholarly information, usually in a small group setting. The scope of work shall consist of research by course registrants, with the exchange of the results of such research through discussion, reports, and/or papers.