Edinburgh Buddhist Studies
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UKABS Conference 2021

The University of Edinburgh and EBS are proud to host the United Kingdom Association for Buddhist Studies (UKABS) conference on 1st and 2nd July 2021.

We are planning a “hybrid” conference, where online participation will be the norm, but – if possible – we will also gather a small group of UK-based participants in Edinburgh itself. Safety is our first priority, but we feel it is too early to completely rule out the possibility of gathering in person.

Conference presentations will be live and recorded. We welcome proposals from scholars all over the world. If we are able to include an Edinburgh-based meeting, participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements.



The keynotes will be delivered by Justin McDaniel (University of Pennsylvania) with his work titled "Cajoleries and Thin Description in the Study of Thai Buddhist Art", and Pamela Winfield (Elon University).


Call for papers

The theme of the conference is “Word, Image, Object, Performance”. As an event with a significant amount of online engagement, we are moving away from the traditional conference format, in order to mitigate against video-call fatigue. Instead of full papers, we seek the following types of contribution: 

  • short papers (10 minutes) directly addressing the theme(s), which will be grouped appropriately into panels with an emphasis on discussion
  • dialogues (45 minutes) between scholars crossing domains or disciplines*
  • roundtable panels (90 minutes) on two or more of the conference keywords*, the number of participants being up to the discretion of each organiser.

*For the dialogue section and roundtable panels, participants should submit fully-organised proposals. However, the convenors of the conference will arrange the short papers into thematic panels.

Please send proposals of up to 250 words to buddhist.studies@ed.ac.uk by the end of February 2021, being sure to explain the proposed topic and format clearly. We will respond by mid-March, and hope to circulate a programme, and open registration, in April.


PhD Students participation

We also welcome PhD student proposals for participation in the form of either:

  • a poster (maximum size 10Mb, preferred format A0)
  • a short pre-recorded video introducing the thesis (5 min max)

These will be hosted in an online conference arena for viewing around the time of the conference. There will also be Q&A sessions scheduled, in which students can discuss their poster/video with other attendees. A prize will be awarded to the best PhD poster/video, as judged by the conference organisers.



The conference will be a closed event, by registration only, and subject to a small fee (up to £15 for waged non-UKABS members, with reductions for members and unwaged attendees, and PG participants free). Only registered participants will be able to attend the conference, participate in livestreams, and access recordings and posters/exhibits. Registration details will be circulated in the spring.

UKABS Website

Mount Meru

UKABS Conference 2021

UKABS conference call for papers: Word, Image, Object, Performance

New College (TBC)