Jason Carbine

Professor of Religious Studies Jake CarbineThe C. Milo Connick Chair of Religious Studies

Associate Professor

Department of Religious Studies
562.907.4200, ext. 4339






Academic History

B.A. Bowdoin College
M.A., PhD University of Chicago

Academic Interests

Burma/Myanmar; Sri Lanka; Buddhism; History of Religions; Comparative Religious Ethics

Jason ("Jake") Carbine first traveled to Asia as part of a high school student exchange with China. He majored in Asian Studies, with a focus on religion, at Bowdoin College, and under the auspices of the ISLE program spent a semester abroad in Sri Lanka. After graduating from Bowdoin in 1993, he returned to Sri Lanka, with the support of a Fulbright-Hays grant, for a year to conduct field research on ritual and healing among Sinhalese Buddhists. He then pursued a masters degree in method and theory in the study of religion, followed by a doctoral degree in the discipline of the History of Religions, both at the University of Chicago Divinity School.  For his doctoral dissertation, he focused on the Shwegyin monastic community in Myanmar, and completed his Ph.D. in 2004. Teaching stints at College of the Holy Cross, Amherst College, and Franklin & Marshall College followed, and in 2007 he came to Whittier College where he found a home in the Department of Religious Studies. During his time at Whittier, Jake has hosted many internationally oriented events at the College, several of which have focused on Myanmar. He was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in Spring 2011, currently co-chairs the American Academy of Religion's group on Religion in Southeast Asia, serves as the Vice-Chair of the Faculty at Whittier, and in Fall 2013 was appointed the C. Milo Connick Chair in Religious Studies. Jake's research expertise focuses on the history and culture of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, and on Myanmar and Sri Lanka in particular. He teaches courses dealing with a variety of Asian religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, and Islam.  He also teaches thematic and topical oriented courses, including a comparative ethics course entitled "Person, Cosmos, and Community," a theory and method course entitled "Ways of Understanding Religion," and “Introduction to Globalization," a course dedicated to some of the oddities of the world in which we live.  Overall, Jake's teaching and research about religion and society combines historical and ethnographic approaches, and draws from an interdisciplinary body of research pertaining to the history and sociology of religions, textual studies, anthropology, and comparative religious ethics.   Jake is also an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys all things nature-oriented.

Works in Progress

How Theravada is Theravada? Exploring Buddhist Identities, co-edited with Peter Skilling and Claudio Cicuzza (Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation, Lumbini International Research Institute, forthcoming)

"Sasanasuddhi / Simasammuti: Comments on a Spatial Basis of the Buddha's Religion," in How Theravada is Theravada?

The Kalyani Inscriptions: A New Translation (Pali Text Society, under agreement)

Books and Articles in Print

Sons of the Buddha: Continuities and Ruptures in a Burmese Monastic Tradition (De Gruyter, 2011)

“Care for Buddhism: Text, Ceremony, and Religious Emotion in a Monk’s Final Journey,” in The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations, eds. Jacqueline Stone and Bryan Cuevas (University of Hawaii Press/Kuroda, 2007)

“Shwegyin Sasana: Continuity, Rupture, and Traditionalism in a Buddhist Tradition,” in Historicizing “Tradition” in the Study of Religion, eds. Steven Engler and Gregory Grieve (De Gruyter, 2005)

“Burmese, Buddhist Literature in,” in Encyclopedia of Buddhism, editor-in-chief Robert Buswell (Macmillan, 2003)

The Life of Buddhism, co-edited with Frank E. Reynolds (University of California Press, 2000)

“Yaktovil: The Role of the Buddha and Dhamma,” in Life of Buddhism

“Sangha,” in Encyclopedia of Monasticism, ed. William Johnston (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000)

“Discord and Concord in Buddhist Perspective,” co-author with Frank Reynolds and Robert Yelle, in Ideas of Concord and Discord in Selected World Religions, ed. Joseph Gittler (JAI Press, 2000)

Book Reviews

“Spreading the Dhamma,” in Journal of Asian Studies (2010)

"Popularizing Buddhism,” in H-Buddhism (2009)

“Cambodian Buddhism,” in Journal of Buddhist Ethics (2009)

“Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics,” in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (2002)

“The Feast of the Sorcerer,” in Journal of Religion (1998)