Dagmar Schwerk studied Tibetology, classical Indology, and political science at the University of Hamburg’s Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies and Department of Social Sciences (Germany). Focusing on Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, in particular, Madhyamaka philosophy, she obtained her M.A. in 2012.

In 2017 she completed her Ph.D. in Tibetan Studies (University of Hamburg) with a dissertation on the reception history of the longstanding controversy concerning the Mahāmudrā doctrine and meditative system in the Bhutanese Drukpa Kagyud school between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. In particular, she analyzed the Mahāmudrā interpretation by a renowned master from this school, the sixty-ninth Je Khenpo Gendun Rinchen (1926–97). She also first analyzed and made accessible records of the life and works of Je Khenpo Gendun Rinchen to a broader academic audience.

While at UBC, she will turn her doctoral thesis into a monograph (title: A Timely Message from the Cave: The Mahāmudrā Doctrine and Intellectual Agenda of dGe-bshes dGe-’dun-rin-chen (1926–1997), the Sixty-Ninth rJe-mkhan-po of Bhutan) and begin a new research project on Tibetan Buddhism, in particular on identity- and nation-building processes in eighteenth-century Bhutan.

She was the recipient of an M.A. and Ph.D. scholarship from The German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) and the Khyentse Foundation Award for Excellence in Buddhist Studies in 2012, as well as a 2016 Dissertation Fellow of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies.

Before coming to UBC, she worked as a short-term postdoctoral fellow on a research project titled “Bhutan in Transition. Metamorphosis and Institutionalization of Buddhist Concepts” in an international and interdisciplinary research group at the University of Leipzig (Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies “Multiple Secularities: Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities,” http://www.multiple-secularities.de/team/dagmar-schwerk/).

Her research and teaching expertise cover Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan and Bhutanese intellectual, political, and social history—particularly between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. In her current research activities, she is especially interested in Buddhist conceptions of state, governance, social structure and civil society, as well as applied Buddhist ethics in secular contexts such as economics and education in Asia and the West.

Winter 2019

ASIA311 Tibetan Buddhism Sections

Religious terrain of the Tibetan cultural realm, looking at the history and development of Tibetan Buddhism and key ideas of the four main Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Winter 2019

ASIA431 Tibetan Literature, Genres, and Book Culture Sections

Tibetan literature, textual genres, and book and printing culture from the seventh century to the present.