Tyler A. Lehrer headshot

Hi, I’m Tyler (he/him). I will be an Assistant Professor of History at Virginia Wesleyan University starting in August 2024. My primary research, publication, and teaching areas encompass South and Southeast Asian Buddhist lineages, European seaborne empires, transregional and transnational religious and political movements in the global south, and gender and sexual normativity in the early modern Indian Ocean.

I received a Ph.D. in South and Southeast Asian history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2024. My dissertation and first book project consider the formation and breakdown of Buddhist monastic diplomacy in the 18th century Bay of Bengal as it was first mediated, and then exploited, by governors and agents of the Dutch East India Company together with local rulers, courtiers, and religious specialists in (and in between) the Kandyan Kingdom (in what is now Sri Lanka) and the Ayutthayan Kingdom (in what is now Thailand).

I completed a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies at the California State University, Sacramento in 2013, and an MA in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016. My previous MA research and first journal article, drawn on ethnographic research conducted in Sinhala and English during the winter of 2015–2016, investigated strategic representations of Buddhist women’s piety in the overlapping contexts of women’s ordination disputes (bhikkhunī ordination) and gendered nationalist discourse in contemporary Sri Lankan Buddhist politics.

From 2004 to 2013, I worked as both a general and an assistant manager of a 12+ person retail and production management team. Together, we ran a profitable retail location of FedEx Office (formerly “Kinko’s”), a major printing and shipping corporation, in the Sacramento, CA metro area. With extensive experience in people management, human resources, retail financials, customer service, and contract customer relationship management, I oversaw a hub–and–spoke project management team in my guidance of ever-changing operations and objectives as FedEx navigated the 2008 financial crisis.