Tibetan calendar dates
- Primary Affiliation (Workplace)
- Randolph College
- University of Virginia
Professor Bessenger earned her masters and doctorate degrees from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.
As an undergraduate she designed a major in Anthropology and Asian studies to complete her degree at Mills College in Oakland, California, during which time she also participated in the School for International Training's Tibetan Studies study abroad program. Her doctoral training is in the History of Religions, with areas of expertise in Buddhist Studies, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Hinduism and Chinese religions.
Dr. Bessenger lived for a year at Tibet University in Lhasa, Tibet, and received a Fulbright-Hayes to conduct research among Tibetan exile communities in India and Nepal. Her current research is on the Tibetan saint Sonam Peldren; this research is culminating in a book, tentatively titled Echoes of Enlightenment: The Lives of Sonam Peldren, under contract with Oxford University Press.
At Randolph College Dr. Bessenger teaches courses in the history and the auto/biographical culture of Buddhism, gender and Buddhism, the history and visual culture of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhist culture, and Chinese religions. She enjoys exposing Randolph students to Asian religious thought, and is fascinated by the many ways human beings publicly and privately think about and negotiate this thing called "religion."
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