Lina VercheryLina Verchery

BA Hons (McGill) MDiv PhD (Harvard)

Room: Richardson 4S10

Lina Verchery is a scholar of Chinese Buddhism who specializes in the ethnographic study of contemporary Buddhist monastic life in China and throughout the Chinese diaspora. Her doctoral dissertation in Buddhist Studies at Harvard University, Impersonal Intimacy: Paradoxes of Monastic Sociality in a Transnational Buddhist Network, is an ethnographic study of sociality, interspecies ethics and moral cultivation in the Fajie Fojiao Zonghui, a major transnational Chinese Buddhist monastic organization. Lina’s current research is an ethnographic study of Chinese Buddhist responses to the climate crisis, specifically examining its ethical and existential significance through the lens of neo-conservative understandings of rebirth, eschatology and Buddhist cosmology.

Lina is also an award-winning filmmaker and has produced several documentary and multimedia works as part of her ethnographic research. She holds a certification in Critical Media Practice from the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab and her work has been broadcast on television networks and in film festivals around the world. Her films have received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Film Board of Canada, the Harvard Film Study Center and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Lina’s recent scholarly publications include “An Alternative to the ‘Westernization’ Paradigm and Buddhist Global Imaginaires" (in Buddhism in the Global Eye: Beyond East and West, 2020), “Like and Unlike: Rebirth, Olfaction, and the Transspecies Imagination in Modern Chinese Buddhism” (Buddhist Beasts: Reflections on Animals in Asian Religions and Culture, 2019) and “Blindness, Blinking and Boredom: Seeing and Being in Buddhism and Film” (Practicing Buddhism Through Film, 2018). Complete details on Lina’s research, publications and films are available at

At Otago, Lina teaches courses on East Asian Buddhism. Lina has received several awards for distinction in undergraduate teaching from Harvard University, where she was a Frank Knox Fellow. Prior to joining the University of Otago, she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian Religions at Union College in New York.


Papers taught in 2022

First semester
The Body in Asian Religions
Mahayana Buddhism
Second semester
Zen Buddhism

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University of Otago Religious Studies Programme