Department of Religion
Faculty - Cuong Mai
Professor Mai specializes in the religions of Asia, particularly the history of Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhism. His research focuses on the emergence of mortuary practices and paradise beliefs surrounding the Buddha figures Amitabha and Maitreya in the early medieval China.. He completed a B.A. in Religious Studies at Columbia University, an M.A. in Religious Studies at the University of Hawaii and his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Indiana University-Bloomington in 2009. At UVM he teaches introductory courses on "Asian Religions" and intermediate courses on "Religions of Vietnam," "Buddhist Traditions," "Buddhism and the West," and "Religious Perspectives on Death."
"My approach to the study of religion is multidisciplinary, and my courses frequently incorporate the study of funerary customs, traditions of asceticism, religious festivals, beliefs concerning the afterlife, spirit mediumship, cults of saints and divine beings, and aspects of material culture. As a historian of religion most concerned with cross-cultural and comparative study, I try to engage students in larger conversations about how religious rituals change through time and how religions are transformed as they are transported across cultural and linguistic boundaries."