Thomas Patton completed his Ph.D. in Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture from the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. His teaching and research is attentive to religion in Southeast Asia, particularly focusing on historical and ethnographic interests engaging Buddhist phenomena in relation to Burmese cultural contexts, issues of gender and class, and politics. His current research is on lived religion in Myanmar, specifically examining local cults of saints and peoples’ relationships with them, shrines, miracles, and other manifestations of religious devotion.
Religion and Society in Asia
Buddhism in Southeast Asia
Power and Culture in Southeast Asia
History and Society in Asia
Myanmar Fieldwork Course
Recent Research Projects
Buddhist wizard-saints (weizza / weikza)
The performance of Buddhist thought and ritual through practices of magic, spirit possession, image production, sacred protection, and healing through a variety of genres and media
Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- "The Academic Study of Lived Religion and Buddhist Wizards (Weizzā/Weikza) of Myanmar" Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion, Oxford University Press. Article published April 2019. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.640.
- “Medicine Wizards of Myanmar: Four Facebook Posts." In Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Sources, ed. C. Pierce Salguero. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.
- "Phantasmagorical Buddhism: Dreams and Imagination in the Creation of Burmese Sacred Space." Religions (2018) 9, 414. Click here to download
- “Buddhist Wonderlands: Thoughts on Architects of Buddhist Leisure.” Heidelberg Ethnology (2017) Click here to download
- "Buddhist Salvation Armies as Vanguards of the Sāsana: Sorcerer Societies in 20th Century Burma." Journal of Asian Studies (2016) 75 (4). Click here to download
- “The Wizard King’s Granddaughters: Burmese Buddhist Female Mediums, Healers, and Dreamers.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion (2016) 84 (2): 430-465. Click here to download
- "In Pursuit of the Sorcerer’s Power: Sacred Diagrams as Technologies of Potency.” Champions of Buddhism: Weikza Cults in Contemporary Burma, Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière, Guillaume Rozenberg and Alicia Turner eds. (Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2014).
- “In Pursuit of the Sorcerer’s Power: Sacred Diagrams as Technologies of Potency.” Contemporary Buddhism (vol. 13, no. 2: 2012). Click here to download article