Alexander von Rospatt
Office address: 347b Dwinelle Hall
Ph.D. University of Hamburg, 1993
M.A. University of Hamburg, 1988
Alexander von Rospatt is Professor for Buddhist and South Asian Studies, and Director of the Group in Buddhist Studies. He specializes in the doctrinal history of Indian Buddhism, and in Newar Buddhism, the only Indic Mahayana tradition that continues to persist in its original South Asian setting (in the Kathmandu Valley) right to the present. His first book sets forth the development and early history of the Buddhist doctrine of momentariness. His new book “The Svayambhu Caitya and its Renovations” deals with the historical renovations of the Svayambhū Stupa of Kathmandu. Based on Newar manuscripts and several years of fieldwork in Nepal, he reconstructs the ritual history of these renovations and their social contexts. This book complements numerous essays von Rospatt has authored on various aspects of this tradition, including its narrative literature, its art historical heritage, and its tantric rituals and their origins and evolution. His current research focuses on 1) the mural paintings and other visual depictions of the Svayambhupurana, 2) the life-cycle rituals of old age as observed among Newars and their depiction in icons dedciated to Ushnishavijaya, 3) colophons of Nepalese manuscripts.
Before joining UC Berkeley in 2003, von Rospatt served as assistant professor at the University of Leipzig and taught on visiting appointments at the Universities of Oxford and Vienna. More recently he has also taught as visiting professor at the University of Munich, and at the International College for Postgraduate Buddhist Studies at Tokyo.