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, Khom, Thai, and Tham scripts as well as a variety of printed and oral texts in Pali, Sanskrit, Cambodian, Siamese, Lanna, Lao, Vietnamese, and other languages.

My current book project, Classical Reading, Vernacular Writing: A Bitextual History of Mainland Southeast Asian Letters, 1450–1850, argues that a distinct mode of translation was the core intellectual and literary activity in early modern Theravada Buddhist cultures. Recent publications include articles on Cambodian Dharma songs, Thai literary history, and translation practices in southern Vietnam.

I received a BA in Religious Studies from Stanford University and a PhD in Buddhist Studies from UC Berkeley, where my dissertation focused on bark-paper manuscripts used for chanting to the dying in Cambodia. This website provides access to my academic publications as well as audio recordings, media appearances, syllabi, and digital tools. Various other publications accessible here include selected translations, liner notes, exhibit catalogs, and a libretto.