Research Interests: Tibet, Inner Asia, Himalayan Studies, Buddhism, Buddhist Thought, East Asian Religions, Tibetan Intellectual History, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia
Leonard van der Kuijp is professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies and chairs the Committee on Inner Asian and Altaic Studies. Best known for his studies of Buddhist epistemology, he is the author of numerous works on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. Recent publications include An Early Tibetan Survey of Buddhist Literature (Vol. 64, Harvard Oriental Series, 2008), coauthored with Kurtis R. Schaeffer, and In Search of Dharma: Indian and Ceylonese Travelers in Fifteenth Century Tibet (Wisdom, 2009). Van der Kuijp’s research focuses primarily on the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist thought, Tibetan Buddhist intellectual history, Tibetan Buddhism, and premodern Sino-Tibetan and Tibeto-Mongol political and religious relations. He teaches three new courses this term, covering histories, the era of the 5th Dalai Lama, and the historical geography of the Tibetan cultural area.
Van der Kuijp received his Master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and his doctorate at the University of Hamburg in Germany. He joined the faculty at Harvard in 1995. He is the former chair of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies (now the Department of South Asian Studies). In 1993 van der Kuijp received the MacArthur Fellowship for “pioneering contributions to the study of Tibetan epistemology, biography and poetry.” Van der Kuijp worked with the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project at the Nepal Research Center, Kathmandu, and taught at the Free University, Berlin, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1999, he founded the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), together with E. Gene Smith. In 2016, he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.