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Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Tennessee

Megan Bryson is a scholar of East Asian religions who aims to find stories that otherwise fall through the cracks. Much of her research focuses on intersections of ethnicity and gender in East Asian religion, especially in the region of southwest China that was once home to the Nanzhao (649-903) and Dali (937-1253) kingdoms. Scholars tend to ignore this region because it defies regional categorization as Chinese, Tibetan, Indian, or Southeast Asian, but it is precisely this wealth of possibility that drives Bryson's work. Bryson is also interested in how deities' transformations reflect and inform changes in human societies. Her first book, Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China (Stanford University Press, 2017), explored the shifting identities of the regional goddess Baijie in relation to sociocultural and political change. Her current projects include the co-edited volume (with Kevin Buckelew), Buddhist Masculinities (Columbia University Press, 2023), and the book, Buddhism on the Southern Silk Road.

In the classroom, Bryson teaches a wide variety of courses on Asian religions, as well as courses on Method and Theory in Religious Studies, Mindfulness, and Religion and Nonprofit Leadership.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Tennessee