I am a scholar and educator focused on the history of Buddhism, especially in Tibet. I am Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming, and Director of Buddhist Studies Online.
I received a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia in 2011, an M.A. in the History of Religions from the University of Chicago in 2013, and a Ph.D. from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University in 2020.
My engagement with Religious Studies arises out of a longstanding interest in religion as a force that shapes our experience of the world, and in the practices religions develop to transform that experience. After growing up in a multi-religious household, I encountered Buddhism as an undergraduate, and haven't looked back since. I am comfortable in classical Tibetan, modern Tibetan, and Sanskrit, and also read Chinese and Hindi. I have spent over a year and a half over seven research trips in various communities in Asia, including summers at a Buddhist nunnery in Ladakh, at the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives in Dharamsala, at Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, and at Sichuan University in Chengdu.
My work focuses on the history of Tibetan pilgrimage to holy mountains and the goal of transforming perception while on pilgrimage, and I am currently working on a book on this topic. I am also interested in Buddhist ethics, vision and visuality, theories of place, and issues of addiction and recovery.
Making the Invisible Real: Practices of Seeing in Tibetan Pilgrimage Literature, in progress.
“Necessary Questions of Chö: Uses and Abuses of Religion in Dondrup Gyel’s ‘Tulku,’” in press, Himalaya.
“How to See the Invisible: Attention, Landscape, and the Transformation of Vision in Tibetan Pilgrimage Guides,” under review at History of Religions, submitted October 2020.
Translation of “Tulku” by Dondrup Gyel, in The Tibet Journal Vol. XXXVIII No. 3 & 4 (Autumn-Winter 2013), 35-55.
“Seeing Things As They Are: Perception in Buddhist and Western Thought,” essay commissioned by George Haas and the Mettagroup for inclusion in Punch Outs, a book of photography, Spring 2021.
Review of Buying Buddha, Selling Rumi: Orientalism and the Mystical Marketplace by Sophia Rose Arjana, Reading Religion, commissioned.
Review of The Battle for Fortune: State-led Development, Personhood, and Power Among Tibetans in China, by Charlene Makley, H-Net Reviews, February 2021.
Review of The Monastery Rules: Buddhist Monastic Organization in Pre-Modern Tibet, by Berthe Jansen, Religious Studies Review, July 2019.
Review of Divine Stories: Divyavadana, Part II (Classics of Indian Buddhism), translated by Andy Rotman, Reading Religion, January 2019.
Review of Echoes of Enlightenment: The Life and Legacy of Sonam Peldren by Suzanne Bessenger, H-Net Reviews, September 2018.
Talks and Presentations
“Karma as Interpretive Lens in the Pilgrim Diary of Khatag Zamyak;” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting; Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Unit; San Antonio, TX; November 20-22, 2021.
“Don’t Throw Away These Favorable Conditions for Nothing!: Place, Materiality, and Agency in Tibetan Pilgrimage,” in “Buddhist Philosophies of the Material” Panel, for American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting; jointly hosted by Buddhist Philosophy and Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Units; online due to Covid-19; December 1, 2020.
Panel Organizer, “Vision and Visualization in Tibetan Buddhism,” Association of Asian Studies Conference; Boston, MA; March 19-22, 2020, cancelled due to Covid-19.
“Khatag Zamyak’s Co-Seeing: Perception, Imagination, and Practices of Seeing in a Tibetan Pilgrimage Diary” for Association of Asian Studies Conference; Boston, MA; March 19-22, 2020, cancelled due to Covid-19.
“Sakya Pandita and the Conflict Between Poetry and ‘The Way Things Really Are,’” for International Association of Tibet Studies Conference; Paris, France; July 8-13, 2019.
“Faith and Figuration in Tibetan Pilgrimage Guides,” for American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting; Religion in South Asia Unit; Denver, CO; November 17-20, 2018.
“How to Identify a Mountain: Uncovering the Epistemological Logics at Work in a Debate about the Authenticity of a Tibetan Mountain,” for American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting; Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Unit; Denver, CO; November 17-20, 2018.
“How to See the Unseen: Chokyi Drakpa’s 16th Century Guidebook to Gyangme,” for American Academy of Religion, New England Maritime Regional Meeting; Boston, MA; April 8, 2017.
“What Kind of Eye is the Eye of Dharma: Conflicting Visions of Kailas in 13th-17th Century Tibet,” for 5th Annual Harvard Divinity School Ways of Knowing Conference; Cambridge, MA; October 28-9, 2016.
“Necessary Questions of Dharma: Reexamining Dondrup Gyel’s ‘Lama,’” for 3rd ANHS Himalayan Studies Conference at Yale University; New Haven, CT; March 14-16, 2014.
“Madness as True Discourse in Chöd: Understanding Machik Labdron’s Regulations on Clothing,” for Madness and Wisdom in South Asia at the University of Chicago; Chicago, IL; February 14, 2014.
“Transformations of Medical Texts from India to Tibet,” for Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Medicine at MIT; Cambridge, MA, October 25-26, 2013.
“Bridging the Gap: Embryology and the Scholastic Response to Tantra,” for 1st Annual Harvard Divinity School Ways of Knowing Conference; Cambridge, MA; October 26-27, 2012.
“Demons Displaced: Models of Disease Causation in the Four Tantras,” for New Directions, Graduate Student Conference in Buddhist Studies at UVA; Charlottesville, VA; September 14-16, 2012.
“Self, Soul, Meaning.” Opening Plenary Panel for University of Wyoming Honors College. Laramie, WY. February 10, 2022. Invited by Mary Catherine Fenton
“Studying Buddhism in the New Millennium,” for 84000 In Conversation speaker series, hosted by 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha; August 28, 2021. Invited by Joie Chen.
“Pilgrimage in Buddhism and Tibet” to Philadelphia Buddhist Association; August 8, 2021. Invited by Curtis Key.
“Khatag Zamyak’s Co-Seeing: Perception, Imagination, and Practices of Seeing in a Tibetan Pilgrimage Diary” at Hebrew University; Jerusalem, Israel; May 30, 2021. Invited by Eviatar Shulman.
“Buddhism in Wyoming’s Mosaic of Faith,” presentation for the Wyoming Interfaith Network. May 24, 2021. Invited by Jordan Bishop.
“How to See the Invisible: Vision and Transformation in Tibetan Pilgrimage Guides,” at Kalamazoo College; Kalamazoo, MI; May 3, 2021. Invited by Taylor Petrey.
“How to See the Invisible: Vision and Transformation in Tibetan Pilgrimage Guides,” at Wittenberg University; Springfield, OH; April 22, 2021. Invited by Travis Proctor.
“Do Places Have the Power to Transform Pilgrims?: On the Agency of Material Places.” Spotlight Speaker Series. Mangalam Research Center. Berkeley, CA. March 2020. Invited by Karin Meyers.
“Buddhism’s Perspective on What it Means to Be a Human Being.” Opening Plenary Panel for University of Wyoming Honors College. Laramie, WY. January 28, 2020. Invited by Mary Catherine Fenton.
Assistant Professor, University of Wyoming
RELI 1000: “Introduction to World Religions,” Spring 2022
RELI/HIST 2315: “History of Non-Western Religions: Tibetan Buddhism,” Fall 2021
RELI 2050: "Religions of Asia," Fall 2021
RELI/HIST 2315: “History of Non-Western Religions: Buddhism,” Summer 2021
RELI 1000: “Introduction to World Religions,” Spring 2021
RELI 2050: “Religions of Asia,” Spring 2021
RELI/HIST 2315: “History of Non-Western Religions: Buddhism,” Fall 2020
RELI 4310: “Seminar in Asian Religions: Buddhist Ethics,” Fall 2020
Visiting Instructor, Amherst College
“Introduction to Buddhist Traditions,” Fall 2017
Series on Buddhism in collaboration with YouTube channel “Religion for Breakfast” (380K subscribers). "What is Buddhism?" published October 2021. "Who was the Buddha?" published November 2021.
Podcast Host, Buddhist Studies Podcast, on the Yogic Studies Podcast Network, 2021-present.
Interview with 84000: Translating the Word of the Buddha:
84000 In Conversation | Episode 2 | Studying Buddhism in the New Millennium, August 2021
Ho Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Toronto, "An Interview with Dr. Kate Hartmann on Tibetan Pilgrimage," August 2021
Guest on New Books in Indian Religions Podcast, hosted by Raj Balkaran, April 30, 2021.
Guest on Yogic Studies Podcast, hosted by Seth Powell, April 9, 2021.
“Seeing Things As They Are: Perception in Buddhist and Western Thought,” essay commissioned by George Haas and the Mettagroup for inclusion in Punch Outs, a book of photography to be published Spring 2021.
Contributed to Malcolm Wallop Civic Engagement Project, designed to provide teachable materials to high school social studies instructors based on state education standards, January 2021.
Podcast Co-Host, New Books in Buddhist Studies, on the New Books Network, 2019-present.