Anne Hansen

Position title: Interim Department Chair; Professor of History


Chair Office: 3211 Mosse Humanities
Office: 5114 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 5030 Mosse Humanities
608.263.1807 (Chair)
608.263.2394 (Office)
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:30-4:30 by appointment in 3211K Humanities

Anne Hansen


I am a historian of religion with research interests in the history of Buddhist ethical ideas and modern religious reform and social justice movements in Southeast Asia, Cold War Buddhism, colonial Buddhism, and religion and visual culture. Much of my work focuses on Buddhist ethics of care and/or “local” interpretations and expressions of Theravada Buddhist thought within larger transnational or transregional networks. My current projects include work on Buddhist visual ethics of care in nineteenth and twentieth century Cambodia, as well as a study of Buddhist temporality during the Cold War in modern Southeast Asia. I regularly teach courses on Buddhism, Asian religions, transnational religion, Southeast Asian colonialisms and modernities, and theory and method in the study of religion.


Ph.D., Harvard University
M.A., Harvard University
M.Div., Harvard Divinity School
B.A ., St. Olaf College


Selected Publications

  • “Poverty and the Poor in the Buddhist Tradition” (with Jordan Baskerville), in Poverty and the Poor in the World’s Religious Traditions: Religious Responses to the Problem of Poverty, pp. 110-148, edited by William H. Brackney and Rupen Das. (ABC-CLIO 2019).
  • “Buddhist Communities of Belonging in Early Twentieth Century Cambodia,” in Buddhist Encounters with Modernity, Theravada Civilizations Project volume 1, edited by Steven Collins and Juliane Schober. (London and New York: Routledge Press, 2017).
  • “Painting Ethics: Death, Love, and Moral Vision in the Mahāparinibbāna,” Journal of Religious Ethics 44.1 (2016): 17-50, 2016.
  • “Buddhism in Modern Southeast Asia,” The Routledge Handbook on Southeast Asia, edited by Norman G. Owens, pp. 224-234 (Routledge Press, 2013).

Selected Awards

  • Institute for Research in the Humanities Residential Fellowship, University of Wisconsin Madison (Fall 2016)
  • Faculty Development Grant, Practices of Care: Buddhist Ethics and Service Learning in Cambodia, University of Wisconsin Madison (Spring 2013)
  • Vilas Associate Fellowship, Visualizing Love & Attachment: Buddhist Ethics of Care in Modern Southeast Asia, University of Wisconsin Madison (2011-2013)
  • Graduate School Research Committee Award, Spiritual Friends: Ethics of Love and Attachment in Modern Buddhist Biography, University of Wisconsin Madison (2011-2012)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Project Grant, Suffering and the Prophetic Past and Future in Cambodian Religion and Society: A Study of the Buddh Damnay (2000-2003)
  • Harvard University Pluralism Project Grant (2003-2005)

Advisor To

History Courses

  • History/ReligSt/Asian 267 – Asian Religions in Global Perspective
  • History/ReligSt/Asian 308 – Introduction to Buddhism – Syllabus 2021 (pdf)
  • History/ReligSt/Asian 438 – Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History
  • History/ReligSt/Asian 547 – Religion, Colonialism and Modernity in Asia
  • History 706 – Topics in Transnational History: Religion, Modernity and Re-enchantment – Syllabus 2022 (pdf)
  • History 706 – Topics in Transnational History: Transnational Religion and Social Justice Movements
  • History 710 – Professional Development Seminar: Writing Grant Proposals – Syllabus 2021 (pdf)