Main research interests
Ben Van Overmeire is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) at the Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies (Ghent University). His research focuses on encounter dialogue, a Zen Buddhist genre that is most commonly known as koan riddles such as “What is the sound of one hand clapping” or “What was your name before you were born.” In addition to examining the medieval origins of this genre, he also looks at how certain twentieth-century authors, such as Daisetz Suzuki and Jack Kerouac, used this genre in their discussions of Zen. Ben's other research interests include utopian narrative and the possible roles of Buddhism and East-Asian thought in general in a time of environmental emergency.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
- “Reading Chan Encounter Dialogue during the Song Dynasty: The Record of Linji, the Lotus Sutra, and the Sinification of Buddhism.” Forthcoming in Buddhist-Christian Studies, October 2017.
- “Portraying Zen Buddhism in the Twentieth Century: Encounter Dialogues as Frame-Stories in Daisetz Suzuki’s Introduction to Zen Buddhism and Janwillem Van de Wetering’s The Empty Mirror.” Japan Studies Review 21 (2017). 3-24.
- “Inventing the Zen Buddhist Samurai: Yoshikawa Eiji’s Musashi and Japanese Modernity.” The Journal of Popular Culture 49.5 (2016). 1125-1145.
- Review of Jan Kiely and J. Brooks Jessup, Recovering Buddhism in Modern China. Forthcoming in Twentieth-Century China.
- Review of Louis Komjathy, Taming the Wild Horse: An Annotated Translation and Study of the Daoist Horse Taming Pictures. Reading Religion (2017).
- “Nishida Kitarō.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. Ed. Stephen Ross. Taylor and Francis, 2016.
- Review of Champions of Buddhism: Weikza Cults in Contemporary Burma. Southeast Asian Studies 4.3 (2015). 629-631.
- “‘The First Tasting of a Narcosis’: Translating and Interpreting Jacques Derrida’s Cosmopolites de tous les pays, encore un effort!” Portals: A Journal in Comparative Literature 9 (2011).
- “Zen Encounter Dialogues as Utopian Narrative: The Ideal World of the Song Dynasty Record of Linji.” Buddhist Philosophy Unit, annual conference of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Boston, MA. Forthcoming November 18-21, 2017.
- “Koan and Murder: Janwillem van de Wetering’s detective novels and the representation of Zen Buddhism.” Lunchtime Conversation Series, Department of Religious Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC. April 12-13, 2017.
- “D.T. Suzuki’s Influence on Monastic Memoirs.” At “Reflections on DT Suzuki.” Conference organized by the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken). Kyoto, Japan. 3-10 December 2016.
- “An Environmental Utopia: Black Mirror and the ‘Trouble with Wilderness.’” At “Climate Change: Views from the Humanities.” Conference of the Environmental Humanities Institute (EHI). Santa Barbara, CA. May 3-24.
- “‘Mountains, rivers, and the whole earth:’ Gender, Lineage, and the Performance of Chan Buddhist Encounter Dialogue.” “Scripture as Literature” Panel, annual conference of the Modern Languages Association (MLA). Austin, TX. 7-10 January 2016.
- “Monks Encountering Samurai: Zen Buddhism and Imperialism in Eiji Yoshikawa’s Musashi.” “Rising Asia” panel, annual conference of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). Seattle, WA. 26-29 March 2015.
- “Encounter Dialogue and the Song Sinification of Buddhism.” At “Buddhist Meditation:
History, Culture, Development, Science.” Buddhist Studies Graduate Conference, University of Virginia, VA. February 28-March 02, 2014.
- “Visions of Linji: Encounter Dialogue and Religious Authority.” At “Network and Identity: Exchange Relations Between China and the World.” Ghent University, Belgium. 18-20 December 2013.
- “‘The First Tasting of a Narcosis’: Translating Jacques Derrida’s Cosmopolites de tous les pays, encore un effort!” ACLA Conference. New Orleans, LA. 1-4 April 2010.
- “‘Het geweeste wou er blijvend zijn’: De hervertelling van verleden en heden in het recente oeuvre van Jacques Hamelink.” At “Workshop Vers en Verhaal: Narratiewe strukture en tegnieke in lyriese poëzie.” Northwestern University, Potchefstroom. South Africa. 2-4 July 2009.
- “‘The Monosyllabicness of the Cuckoo’: Jacques Hamelink and the Past.” At CLCS Colloquium Series 2008-2009. Stony Brook University. September 22, 2008.
- “‘Patterned Lute’ or ‘Ornamented Zither’? An Interpretation of Jacques Hamelink’s Kinksteen van Ch’in”. At “‘Currency’: Fourth Annual Graduate Student Comparative Poetics Symposium”. Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University. April 26, 2008.
Previous Positions Held
- Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion, St. Olaf College, USA. 2016-2017.
- Lecturer, Making of the Modern World Program. University of California, San Diego. Winter and Summer 2014.