Jann Ronis

Biography

Jann Ronis brings to BDRC a strong background in Buddhology, pedagogy, and the digital humanities. He received MA and PhD degrees from the University of Virginia, where he researched the history of the Tibetan kingdom of Dergé in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and particularly the local Nyingma monasteries. In recent years, his research interests have expanded into the fields of literary analysis and contemporary Tibetan culture. Jann is fluent in both classical and spoken Tibetan, including both the Central and Kham dialects, and is highly proficient in Mandarin Chinese.

 

Jann’s love for the study of Buddhism began with the Antioch Buddhist Studies study abroad program in Bodh Gaya in the Fall of 1995. He began learning spoken and literary Tibetan the following year in Kathmandu while a student with the University of Wisconsin’s College Year in Nepal program. After completing his MA degree, he took his first trip to Tibet during the summer of 2000, traveling alone in Kham. In 2001, he spent the summer in Lhasa with a team from the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library (now known as the Tibetan and Himalayan Library), which kicked off his long involvement with digital humanities initiatives.

In 2005, fresh from 18 months in Beijing and Kham on a Fulbright doctoral research grant, Jann joined TBRC as a scholar-in-residence. He worked closely with BDRC’s founder, E. Gene Smith, and Jeff Wallman (TBRC’s Executive Director Emeritus, who was Director of Technology at the time), to develop the first iteration of TBRC’s outlines, which remain the primary template for TBRC’s metadata.

“As Executive Director, Ronis is excited to expand BDRC into a truly pan-Buddhist resource, with enhanced digital tools and expanded literary holdings from around the world…”

Jann moved to Berkeley in 2011 to assume the position of Shinjo-Ito Postdoc in Buddhist Studies at University of California, Berkeley, for two years. He then stayed on at UC Berkeley as Lecturer of Tibetan Studies for five years.

As Executive Director, Ronis is excited to expand BDRC into a truly pan-Buddhist resource, with enhanced digital tools and expanded literary holdings from around the world.

Publications

  • “A Letter To the Queen” in A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rimé Masters of Tibet, eds. Holly Gayley and Joshua Schapiro (Wisdom Publications), 2017, pp. 109-122.
  • “The Prolific Preceptor: Si tu paṇ chen’s Career as Ordination Master in Khams and Its Effect on Sectarian Relations in Sde dge.” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 7, August 2013, pp. 49-85. http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5751.
  • “Deeds of the Dergé King” in Sources of Tibetan Tradition, eds. Kurtis Schaeffer, Matthew Kapstein, and Gray Tuttle (Columbia University Press), 2013, pp. 607-613.
  • “Powerful Women of Degé: Reassessing the Reign of Tsewang Lhamo (d. 1812).” Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no. 22, November 2011, pp. 61-82; published as part of the proceedings of the second seminar of the International Seminar of Young Tibetologists (Paris), 2009.
  • “Bdud ‘dul rdo rje (1615-1672) and Rnying ma adaptations to the Era of the Fifth Dalai Lama.” In Power, Politics, and the Reinvention of Tradition: Tibet in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, eds. Bryan Cuevas and Kurtis Schaeffer (Leiden: Brill), 2006, pp. 171-186.