Ann Gleig, an associate professor of religion and cultural studies at UCF, will research sexual misconduct and abuse in Buddhist communities.

UCF Researcher to Study Sexual Misconduct, Abuse in Buddhist Communities

By: Robert H. Wells on

A University of Central Florida researcher recently received a grant to examine sexual misconduct and abuse in Buddhist communities.

The $22,000 project is part of an overall $550,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to researchers from around the country to examine sexual abuse in Catholic, Hindu and Buddhist religious communities.

Ann Gleig, an associate professor of religion and cultural studies at UCF, and Amy Langenberg, an associate professor of religious studies at Eckerd College, will collaborate on a book project focused on American Buddhist communities as part of the grant.

Gleig says the stories of sexual misconduct and abuse in religious communities, including those in Buddhist communities such as at the Dai Bosatsu Zendo monastery in upstate New York, are often told through media accounts and there is a need for more in-depth scholarly examinations of these occurrences.

In their ethnographic study, Gleig and Langenberg plan to examine Buddhist communities from three different lineages in the U.S. that have been the sites of sexual abuse and misconduct. They are particularly interested in how communities have responded to such crises and how they have impacted practitioners’ relationship to Buddhism. Their research will be published in a book that is under advance contract with Yale University Press.

As part of the Luce grant, scholars, practitioners, and sexual-justice advocates will collaborate to create resources that can help victims suffering from these abuses in religious communities heal and to prevent the likelihood of them happening in other communities.

Gleig is an expert in Buddhism in America, and her book American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity, was published by Yale University Press this year.

Researchers on the overall project include principal investigator Amanda Lucia, associate professor at the University of California-Riverside; Andrea Jain, associate professor at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis; Holly Gayley, associate professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder; and Kent Brintnall, associate professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

The creator of Time magazine, Henry R. Luce, founded The Henry Luce Foundation. It supports projects at universities, policy institutes, media organizations, museums and elsewhere that help strengthen the field of Asian studies, encourage interfaith dialogue, raise the visibility of American art in museums and universities, and increase the participation by women in STEM research and teaching.

Gleig received her doctorate in religious studies from Rice University, her master’s in religious studies from Lancaster University, and her bachelor’s in theology and religious studies from Bristol University. She joined UCF in 2012.

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