Trent Walker

Research on Southeast Asian Buddhist Chant, Literature, and Manuscripts

I research and teach about Southeast Asian Buddhism, literature, and music. At present, I am the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies Postdoctoral Fellow and a lecturer in Religious Studies at Stanford University, where I work on palm-leaf and bark-paper manuscripts in Khmer, Thai, and Tham scripts as well as a variety of printed and oral texts in Pali, Cambodian, Siamese, Lanna, Lao, Vietnamese, and other languages.

My first book, Until Nirvana’s Time: Buddhist Songs from Cambodia, will be released by Shambhala Publications in December 2022. I also co-edited Out of the Shadows of Angkor: Cambodian Poetry, Prose, and Performance through the Ages, an anthology of Khmer literature being published by Mānoa/University of Hawai'i Press in September 2022. At Stanford, I am working on two other book projects. The first, provisionally called Classical Reading, Vernacular Writing: A Bitextual History of Southeast Asian Buddhism, argues that a distinct mode of translation was the core intellectual and literary activity in early modern Theravada Buddhist cultures. The second, tentatively titled Buddhist Literature of Cambodia and Thailand: A Transnational History, draws on the metadata for nearly two million pages of manuscripts I am curating for the Buddhist Digital Resource Center. Recent articles include pieces on Khmer inscriptions, Thai literary history, and Vietnamese translation.

I received a BA in Religious Studies from Stanford and a PhD in Buddhist Studies from UC Berkeley, where my dissertation focused on Cambodian chanting manuscripts. This website provides access to my publications as well as audio recordings, media appearances, syllabi, and digital tools.

Photo by Lan Le