Tyler A. Lehrer

Position title: Writing Lab Coordinator

Email: tlehrer@wisc.edu

Advisor: Anne Hansen
Curriculum Vitae | Website

Tyler A. Lehrer


I am a historian of early modern Indian Ocean religious and diplomatic networks. My research examines connections across Buddhist kingdoms in the Southern Asian regions of what are now Sri Lanka and central Thailand. My ongoing investigations aspire to chart the emergence of ethnicity and religious, political, and interregional affiliation as these became galvanized and salient in an increasingly interconnected maritime world, especially in the context of the Dutch East India Company’s mediation in and between these polities. In particular, I am captivated my many of the ways that Buddhist monastics, kings, and especially ordinary people have forged and documented maritime networks of cooperation and negotiation across the Bay of Bengal in the mid-eighteenth century, and how these operate as valuable historical resources as they were—and still are—invoked in subsequent historical writing and in contemporary disputes in Southern Asia in the contexts of gender, ethnicity, and contested visions of pluralist religious modernity.

Originally from Northern California, I completed my BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies at the California State University, and my MA in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. My previous MA research, drawn on ethnographic research conducted in Sinhala and English during the winter of 2015–16, centered on strategic representations of Buddhist women’s piety in the overlapping contexts of women’s ordination disputes (bhikkhunī ordination) and gendered nationalist discourse in contemporary Sri Lankan Buddhist politics.


M.A., 2016, University of Colorado Boulder
B.A., 2013, California State University, Sacramento


  • Southeast Asian History

MA Title

  • “Global Networks, Local Aspirations: Gender, Lineage, and Localization in Sri Lanka’s Bhikkhunī Ordination Dispute” (May 2016, Department of Religious Studies, University of Colorado Boulder)

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Monks, Ministers, and Virtuous Kings: Eighteenth Century Buddhist Revival in Dutch Colonial Southern Asia”

Selected Publications


  • 2020–21 Fulbright U.S. Student Program research grant for Sri Lanka
  • Summer 2018 Scott Kloeck-Jenson Pre–Dissertation Travel Fellowship, Institute for Regional and International Studies, UW–Madison (April 2018)
  • Summer 2018 Dissertation Planning Grant, American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (February 2018)
  • Summer 2017 and Academic Year 2017–2018 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for Intermediate and Advanced Thai, Funded by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UW–Madison (Mar 2017)
  • Ray Hauser grant for M.A. thesis research in Sri Lanka, Graduate School, CU-Boulder (Mar 2016)
  • Summer 2015 FLAS Fellowship for Intermediate Sinhala, Funded by the South Asia Program, Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University (Apr 2015)
  • Best Should Teach Silver Award, Graduate Teacher Program, Graduate School, CU-Boulder (Aug 2014)
  • Summer 2014 FLAS Fellowship for Beginning Sinhala, Funded by the Center for Asian Studies, CU-Boulder (Mar 2014)
  • Fellowship for Sanskrit Language Study, Religious Studies Dept., CU-Boulder (Jan 2014)

Professional Affiliations

  • Theravāda Civilizations Project
  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies
  • Association for Asian Studies

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 201 — Travel Writing as Historical Source with Pernille Ipsen (Fall 2019)
  • History/RS 267 – Asian Religions in Global Perspective with Anne R. Hansen (Fall 2018)
  • History/RS 308 – Introduction to Buddhism with Anne R. Hansen (Spring 2019)
  • RS 102 – Religion in Sickness and Health with Corrie Norman (Fall 2017)
  • RLST 1850 – Ritual and Media with Holly Gayley (Spring 2014) (CU–Boulder)
  • RLST 2620 – East Asian Religious Traditions with Rodney Taylor (Spring 2015) (CU–Boulder)
  • RLST 2700 – American Indian Religious Traditions with Greg Johnson (Fall 2015) (CU–Boulder)
  • RLST 2700 – American Indian Religious Traditions with Greg Johnson (Fall 2014) (CU–Boulder)
  • RLST 3300 – Foundations of Buddhism with Holly Gayley (Fall 2013) (CU–Boulder)