Campus Directory: John Harding

University of Lethbridge

John Harding
Religious Studies
Office: A812B (University Hall)
Phone: (403) 317-2834
Asian Studies
Religious Studies
Office: A812B (University Hall)
Phone: (403) 317-2834


BA (Major: Asia Studies, Minor: Religion), University of Puget Sound; PhD (Religious Studies), University of Pennsylvania


East Asian religions (particularly Japanese Buddhism), Buddhism in the West, Theory and method in the study of religion

Research Areas

Buddhism in Meiji Japan, Buddhism in Canada, Global development of modern Buddhism in the past century and a half

Office Hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM

About Me

Associate Professor in Religious Studies

Founding Coordinator, Asian Studies

In Spring 2019 I am offering:

RELS 2360: Japanese Religions
{Whereas RELS2300: East Asian Religions, had covered both Chinese and Japanese religions, now there are two new courses in its place. RELS2330: Chinese Religions, was first offered in Fall 2018; and this spring 2019 offering of RELS2360 is the first offering for the Japanese Religions course.}

RELS 3200 / ASIA 3200: Buddhism and Film
{This new cross-listed series course on Asian Religions and Film qualifies for both the Asian Studies minor and for Religious Studies (major or minor)}

For the 2019-20 academic year, I will coordinate a new theme on "Challenging Worldviews" for the Global Citizen Cohort Program; see

In Fall 2019 I will teach ASIA 1000 and LBED 1150 for that cohort

In Spring 2020 I will teach LBED 2150 for the cohort along with RELS 2360: Japanese Religions (not for the cohort)


See bio with links at

John Harding received his BA in Asian Studies with a minor in Religion from the
University of Puget Sound in 1994. He pursued his graduate work in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia along with research in Japan and one year at the University of Cambridge in England. John received his Ph.D. from Penn in 2003 shortly before joining the Religious Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge.

He was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in spring 2009 and served as department chair from 2010-2013. Additionally, he coordinates the emerging program and new minor in Asian Studies.

Harding is currently working with Victor Sogen Hori (McGill) and Alexander Soucy (Saint Mary's University) on a collaborative research project, "The Modernization of Buddhism in Global Perspective," which is funded by a five-year SSHRC Insight Grant.

Selected Publications

John S. Harding, "Trailblazers of Global Buddhist Networks," Contemporary Buddhism 17:2 (2016),

John S. Harding, Victor Sōgen Hori, and Alexander Soucy, Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhisms in Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014).

John Harding, "Poets and Pilgrims: From Saigyō to Shikoku," chapter in Hans-Georg Moeller and Andrew Whitehead, eds., Landscape and Travelling East and West: A Philosophical Journey (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014).

John S. Harding and Hillary P. Rodrigues, The Study of Religion: A Reader (London: Routledge, 2013).

John Harding, "Secularization and Study of Religion at North American Universities," Ethique, Politique, Religions 1:2 (2013): 163-182.

John S. Harding, Victor Sōgen Hori, and Alexander Soucy, "Buddhism in Canada" chapter in Oliver Abenayaka and Asanga Tilakaratne, eds., 2600 Years of Sambuddhatva: Global Journey of Awakening (The Ministry of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka, 2012).

John S. Harding, Studying Buddhism in Practice (London: Routledge, 2012).

John S. Harding, Victor Sōgen Hori, and Alexander Soucy, Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010).

Hillary P. Rodrigues and John S. Harding, Introduction to the Study of Religion (London: Routledge, 2009).

John Harding, Mahayana Phoenix: Japan's Buddhists at the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions (NY: Peter Lang, 2008).

John S. Harding, "Bodily crisis and religious conviction: Implications of Kiyozawa Manshi's illness," Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 37/2 (2008): 211-233.

John Harding, "Expanding Notions of Buddhism: Influences Beyond Meiji Japan,"
Pacific World Journal, Third Series Number 9, Fall 2007, Special Issue: Essays Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of the Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary; full issue available at

John Harding, "Japanese Religions" in Robinson and Rodrigues, World Religions: a guide to the essentials (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).

John Harding, "D.T. Suzuki's Pervasive Influence," Matsugaoka Bunka Annual Bulletin, Spring 2006 (also published in Japanese in the same 2006 issue).

Research Interests

Primary areas of interest include Japanese Buddhism and the cross-cultural exchange between Asia and the West that has shaped the development of modern Buddhism worldwide in the past century and a half. This has included research on Buddhism in Canada, such as Jodo Shinshu in southern Alberta, as well as research in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Secondary areas of interest include Scholarly Approaches to the Study and Teaching of Religion (see as well as the co-authored (both with Hillary Rodrigues) Introduction to the Study of Religion (Routledge 2009) and follow-up The Study of Religion: A Reader (2013).

Recent projects include: editing the volume, Studying Buddhism in Practice (2012), for a new Routledge series, Studying Religions in Practice (Hillary Rodrigues, series editor); and serving as one of the authors and one of three editors (with Victor Sogen Hori and Alexander Soucy) for Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhisms in Canada (McGill-Queens University Press in 2014). This volume, which analyzes the dramatic growth of Buddhism in Canada in global and historical contexts, both follows up on our co-edited book, Wild Geese: Studies of Buddhism in Canada (MQUP, 2010), and launches our current five-year SSHRC research project, "The Modernization of Buddhism in Global Perspective".

Current Research and Creative Activity

TitleLocationGrant InformationPrincipal InvestigatorCo Researchers
The Modernization of Buddhism in Global Perspective SSHRC Insight, $258,659.

John Harding Victor Hori at McGill University and Alexander Soucy at Saint Mary's University

Previous Research

TitleGrant AgencyCompletion Date
Cultural Responses to Contested Claims of Sacred Place: Case Study of Pilgrimage Sites in Shikoku, Japan University of Lethbridge Research Fund ($8, 500) 2005
CREDO (Community of Research Excellence Development Opportunities): Buddhist Developments of the Western Frontier University of Lethbridge Research Fund, $17, 300, August 2009 - July 2011. Jan 2012

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