Kathy Lin

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion

Areas of Study


  • PhD Georgetown University, 2023
  • MTS Harvard Divinity School, 2017
  • MBA MIT Sloan School of Management, 2015
  • AB Harvard College, 2008


Kathy Lin’s research interests lie in the areas of East Asian Buddhism, environmentalism, and ethics (more precisely, moral philosophy informed by ordinary language philosophy.) She also takes an interest in theories and methods in the study of religion.

Her current research project works out an account of religious change as seen through Buddhist environmentalism. This project develops a theoretical apparatus by which to understand how processes of historical religious change occur. It then works this theoretical apparatus through the historical uptake of Buddhist ideas and practices into China from Central Asia between the fourth and sixth centuries AD, in comparison with the uptake of Buddhist ideas and practices into the 19th to 20th century West. 

Lin’s teaching spans a wide range, but coheres (she thinks!). One movement of her teaching concerns a naturalism in ethics – see for instance her courses Animals and Religion and Buddhist Environmentalism. Another movement of her teaching might be spoken of as comparative religious ethics – see for instance her courses Biographies of the Holy and Religion and the Philosophy of Language. Finally, she has interests in the re-naturalization of political-economic theorizing; Family and Gender in East Asia is a thematic start in this direction. 

Spring 2024

Biographies of the Holy — RELG 140
Buddhist Environmentalism — RELG 292
Religion and the Philosophy of Language — RELG 344