University of Central Florida Associate Professor of Religious and Cultural Studies Ann Gleig and Eckerd College Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Langenberg will use part of the grant to support a book project on sexual abuse in American Buddhism.
Two religious scholars who specialize in Buddhism, University of Central Florida Associate Professor of Religious and Cultural Studies Ann Gleig and Eckerd College Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Langenberg, are part of a cohort that has been awarded a grant from the Henry R. Luce Foundation to spend the next five years looking at sexual abuse in religious communities, according to a post on Eckerd’s website.
The Luce Foundation has awarded $550,000 to the Religion and Sexual Abuse Project, one of 31 grantees selected to receive a shared $14 million in funding to support five program areas that will enrich “public discourse by supporting innovative scholarship, leadership development and collaboration across geographic, disciplinary and ideological boundaries.”
Gleig and Langenberg, who are faculty partners, will use the funding to document sexual abuse in American Buddhism following the recent revelations of sexual abuse across multiple American Buddhist communities. Part of the grant will support a book project on sexual abuse in American Buddhism. Each professor will receive about $20,000 to complete their shared research project, which asks the foundational research question, “How do sexual abuse and misconduct crises impact practitioners’ understandings of Buddhism, and what non-Buddhist discourses such as psychotherapy and feminism do practitioners also draw on to make sense of them?”
Langenberg has expertise in South Asian Buddhism, including Sanskrit Buddhist literature, monastic law, and Buddhist medicine, and her research focuses on Buddhist ways of thinking about gender and sexuality. Gleig is the author of American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity, and she researches “contemporary American adaptations of Buddhism in ‘convert’ communities and is particularly interested in issues relating to power and privilege such as racial, gender and sexual justice.” For this project, Langenberg will focus on “the historical context of institutions, doctrines, and sexual ethics in American Buddhism,” while Gleig will be “responsible for ethnographic research on specific cases of abuse.”
Eckerd reports that Langenberg and Gleig will travel to affected communities to complete three case studies for the book.
“We’re really, really excited about this project, especially the opportunity to bring this issue to the foreground and offer resources from the scholarly toolbox that may help communities as they process and recover from abuse,” Langenberg said.