Lecturer in Premodern Japanese Studies
- Asian Studies
- School of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures
- Edinburgh Buddhist Studies
- Tel: +44 (0)131 651 1358
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
50 George Square
- Post code
- EH8 9LH
Abigail MacBain is a scholar of premodern Japanese history and religion.
Prior to joining the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh in autumn 2022, Abigail was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar and lecturer at Columbia University, where she also completed her PhD in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures in 2021. Her dissertation, "Precepts and Performances: Overseas Monks and the Emergence of Cosmopolitan Japan," examined the circumstances behind the relocations of several Buddhist monks from various parts of the Asian mainland to Japan in the mid-eighth century. She also looked at their influence on the religious, cultural, and political affairs of the period.
Abigail’s research has earned her research, language, and writing grants from the Fulbright Program, the Blakemore Foundation, Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Program, the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. She has presented on her research at Princeton University, Columbia University, Doshisha Daigaku, Bukkyō Daigaku, and annual conferences for the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) and American Academy of Religion (AAR).
PhD (2021) - Columbia University, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
MA (2008) - McMaster University, Department of Religious Studies
BA (2004) - St. Lawrence University, Departments of Religious Studies and History-Asian Studies
2021-2022 - Columbia University; Postdoctoral Research Scholar, lecturer
2018-2019 - Kyoto University; Visiting Researcher, Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow
2014-2018 - Columbia University; Teaching Assistant (intermittent)
2009-2013 - Consulate General of Japan in Miami; JET Programme Coordinator and Coordinator for Educational & Cultural Affairs
2006-2008 - McMaster University; Teaching Assistant
2004-2006 - JET Programme; Assistant Language Teacher, Aomori Prefecture
Responsibilities & affiliations
American Association of Religion (AAR), Japanese Religions Unit
Edinburgh Buddhist Studies
Association for Asian Studies (AAS)
American Academy of Religion (AAR)
Society for the Study of Japanese Religions (SSJR)
British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS)
Abigail's research focuses on religious transmission and its role in transregional communication, cultural development, and global awareness at the early Japanese court. In particular, she is interested in the circulation of Buddhist texts, ritual implements, sacred images, and musical entertainment.