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Philip Friedrich

PhD Candidate


M.A., University of Chicago Divinity School
B.A., Bowdoin College


Philip Friedrich is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include the political and social history of medieval and early modern South India and Sri Lanka, historical interactions between Buddhism and other religious traditions, and relations between courtly, mercantile, and monastic domains of thought and practice. His dissertation examines the “minor” royal courts of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Sri Lanka as sites of regional political and religious dynamism. His research has been supported by an ACLS - Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in Buddhist Studies and grants from the American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies and the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught courses on Buddhism and South Asian history and culture as a lecturer in the Religion Department at Bowdoin College and as the Resident Director of the Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) Program.

Research Interests

History of Medieval and Early Modern South Asia; Theories of Religion and Politics; Social and Institutional History of Buddhism in Sri Lanka; Mercantilism and Buddhist Mobility: Sinhala and Tamil Epigraphy; Politics of History Writing

Selected Publications

"Adjudicating Antiquity: The Politics of Historical Confrontation at Devanagala, Sri Lanka," in Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities: Religious Conflict in Contemporary Sri Lanka, ed. John Clifford Holt. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

“Ordering Complex Religious Space: Connected Cases from Fourteenth-Century Gampola, Sri Lanka and Sukhothai, Thailand” in Cultural Dialogues Between India and Southeast Asia from the 7th to the 16th Centuries, eds. Anila Verghese and Anna Dallapiccola, Mumbai, India: K.R. Cama Oriental Institute, Forthcoming.