Matthew Kapstein, Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Chicago, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Along with Kapstein, President Barack Obama, actor Tom Hanks, and author Ta-Nehisi Coates are also among this year’s inductees.
Founded in 1780, the Academy is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research center. The Academy’s honorary membership serves as a think tank to “advance the public good” and “respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world.”
Members represent some of the sharpest people in academia, arts, politics, and sciences. In the past, Academy membership has included Ben Franklin, Margaret Mead, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Kapstein specializes in the history of Buddhist philosophy in India and Tibet. He currently serves on the faculty at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris and co-edits the quarterly journal History of Religions. In the 1990s, he was a member of the Department of Religion at Columbia University and was part of a delegation that accompanied the Dalai Lama on a trip to Israel. His publications include Buddhism Between Tibet and China and Reason’s Traces.