Religious Studies

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Professor Richard King

Professor of Buddhist and Asian Studies

Head of Department

Office: Cornwallis North West Room 213

Office hours: Tuesdays 13.30-14.30


Professor King's research explores interdisciplinary issues in the intersection between religious studies, philosophy, postcolonial studies, the comparative study of mysticism and spirituality and the study of Asia. In particular his work examines classical Indian (Hindu and Buddhist) philosophy and its ongoing representation through the category of 'religion' in the modern period, with a particular interest also in the formation of Mahayana Buddhist thought and its influence on the formation of the early Advaita Vedanta school.

From 2007 to 2009 Professor King served on the advisory committee to the Guggenheim Museum in New York for 'The Third Mind' - a major exhibition exploring Asian philosophical influences on modern American art and also as co-chair of the Cultural History for the Study of Religion group for the American Academy of Religion.

Professor King's current research work explores comparative approaches to apophatic discourse (Buddhist, Vedantic and Christian) and the philosophical and ethical questions arising from the transformation of what has come to be called 'mindfulness meditation' from its ancient roots as a Buddhist monastic practice to its current deployment as a modern 'secularised' therapy in healthcare, corporate and military contexts.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Carrette, J. and King, R. (2005). Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion. [Online]. Abingdon: Routledge. Available at:
King, R. (1999). Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and 'the Mystic East'. [Online]. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. Available at:
King, R. (1999). Indian Philosophy. An Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Thought. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
King, R. (1995). Early Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism: The Mahāyāna Context of the Gauḍapādiya-kārikā. [Online]. New York: State University of New York Press. Available at:
Edited book
King, R. (2006). Religion and Violence in South Asia: Theory and Practice. [Online]. King, R. and Hinnells, J. eds. Abingdon: Routledge. Available at:
King, R. (2013). The Copernican Turn in the Study of Religion. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion [Online] 25:137-159. Available at:
Book section
King, R. (2017). Edited and Critical Introduction. in: King, R. ed. Religion, Theory, Critique: Classic and Contemporary Approaches and Methodologies. New York: Columbia University Press.
King, R. (2016). 'Paying Attention' in a Digital Economy: Reflections on the Role of Analysis and Judgement Within Contemporary Discourses of Mindfulness and Comparisons with Classical Buddhist Accounts of Sati. in: Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement. Springer International Publishing, pp. 27-45. Available at:
King, R. (2011). Imagining Religions in India: Colonialism and the Mapping of South Asian History and Culture. in: Mandair, A. and Dressler, M. eds. Secularism and Religion-Making. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 37-61.
King, R. (2010). Philosophy of Religion as Border Control: Globalization and the Decolonization of the "Love of Wisdom" (philosophia). in: Bilimoria, P. and Irvine, A. eds. Postcolonial Philosophy of Religion. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, pp. 35-52. Available at:
King, R. (2004). Asian Religions and Mysticism: The Legacy of William James in the Study of Religions. in: Carrette, J. R. ed. William James and the Varieties of Religious Experience. A Centenary Celebration. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 106-123.
King, R. (2003). Colonialism and Buddhism. in: Buswell, R. E. ed. Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. New York: Macmillan.
King, R. (2001). Orientalism, Hinduism and Feminism. in: Macfie, A. L. ed. Orientalism. A Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 335-342.
Total publications in KAR: 13 [See all in KAR]
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Richard King teaches modules on Buddhism and on Indian philosophy.

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Religious Studies, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Religious Studies

Last Updated: 17/10/2018