Associate Professor Contact Areas of Interest
Frances Garrett
Department for the Study of Religion
170 St George Street, Room 302
Toronto, ON M5R 2M8
  • Buddhist Studies
  • Tibetan Buddhism
  • Buddhism and medical traditions in Asia


I have taught in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto since 2003. I grew up in Oregon, received a B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia in 2004.

My research has examined the intersections between tantric practice, ritual and occult knowledge and medical theory, and what these tell us about the processes of institutional and ideological change in Tibet. I have also worked on the Tibetan King Gesar epic. I am now beginning a project focused on Mount Khangchendzonga, together with colleagues in Toronto and Sikkim. Most recently in my teaching, with a team of colleagues and students I have developed an online Classical Tibetan language course, and I am co-founder of University of Toronto Outdoors.


  • Undergraduate and graduate level courses on Buddhist Studies, Tibetan Buddhism, and Tibetan language and literature.


In progess, Food magic and eating the sky in Tibetan food yoga (scholarly article)

In progress, Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History: Transformations of sBas yul through Time. Volume of scholarly articles edited by Frances Garrett, Elizabeth McDougal, and Geoffrey Samuel

Under review, Healing mountains in Tibetan Buddhist literature (scholarly article)

Under review, Engaging Immersive Experiential Learning: Outdoor Education in the Humanities, scholarly article co-authored with Laila Stradz, Alysse Kennedy, Salina Suri, Matt Price, Laura Burnett.

Forthcoming, Gesar’s Therapeutic Geographies. In edited volume to be published by Brill, edited by Matthew Kapstein.

2018. Sensory learning and engaged pedagogy in a Buddhist Studies classroom. Teaching Theology and Religion 21:4.

2018. Teaching Walking at University. In PADometer Magazine 1.

2017. Nettle Tibetan. Two semester-long Classical Tibetan courses online with original textbook materials and newly developed software interface. Co-authored by Frances Garrett, Kunga Sherab, Edward Garrett, and Annie Heckman.

2016. Hidden Paradises of the Himalaya: Kangchenjunga & Beyul. In Alpinist 54.

2015. If You Build It, Will They Come? An Evaluation of Whiteboard, a Networked Academic Profiles Project. co-authored with Matt Price, Stian Haklev. Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Research Publications.

2014. Gling sgrung las byung ba’i bod pa’i gso rig skor gleng pa (Tibetan Medicine in the Gesar Epic), published by Qinghai Nationalities University Gesar Research Institute Press (China) in 2014. Chopa Dondrup is primary author; I am collaborator. 226 pages plus 2 DVDs.

2014. The Making of Medical History. In Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine, ed. Resi Hofer. University of Washington Press with Rubin Museum of Art.

2014. “Gold, Statue, Text: Mapping Movement in Tibetan History.” Major digital project with a collection of essays, art historical resources, textual databases, mapping, and architectural modeling. First published in Fall 2014; now under revision for new publication. Collaboratively developed by Frances Garrett, Ben Wood, Sarah Richardson, Kunga Sherab and a technical team of web developers.

2013. Mercury, Mad Dogs and Smallpox: Medicine in the Situ Panchen Tradition. In Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies 7: 277-301.

2013. Narratives of Hospitality and Feeding in Tibetan Ritual. With Matt King, Barbara Hazelton, Andrew Erlich and Nicholas Field. In Journal of the American Academy of Religion 81 (2): 1-25.

2012. “What children need”: Making Childhood with Technologies of Protection and Healing. In Buddhist Children in Texts and Culture, ed. Vanessa Sasson. Oxford University Press.

2011. Eating Letters in the Tibetan Treasure Tradition. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 32 (1-2): 85-114.

2011. Creative and executive producer of film, “Smoke and Sky, Faith and Fortune,” on food and ritual in Tibet. 30 minutes. Directed by Wendekar.

2011. Creative and executive producer of film, “Making Prosperity,” on offering rituals in Tibet. 40 minutes. Directed by Wendekar.

2011. Creative and executive producer of “Seeds in the Wind,” screened at the University of Toronto Film Festival, March 2011, and at New Voices, New Visions: Ethnographic Film from Tibet and Myanmar, Toronto, February 2011.

2010. Studies of Medical Pluralism in Tibetan History and Society: Proceedings from the XIth International Association of Tibetan Studies Meetings. S. Craig, M. Cuomo, F. Garrett, and M. Schrempf, eds. (Bonn: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Contributions to Research on Central Asia series). 591 pages.

2010. Shaping the Illness of Hunger: A Culinary Aesthetics of Food and Healing in Tibet. In Asian Medicine 6 (1): 33-54.

2010. Tapping the Body’s Nectar: Gastronomy and Incorporation in Tibetan Literature. In History of Religions 49 (3): 300-326.

2009. The Alchemy of Accomplishing Medicine (sman sgrub): Situating the Yuthok Heart Essence Ritual Tradition. Journal of Indian Philosophy 37 (3): 207-230.

2008. Religion, Medicine and the Human Embryo in Tibet. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge. Critical Studies in Buddhism series. 224 pages. Book Review in Traditional South Asian Medicine.

2008. Tibetan Buddhist Narratives of the Forces of Creation. In Imagining The Fetus: The Unborn in Myth, Religion and Culture, eds. Jane Marie Law & Vanessa R. Sasson. Oxford University Press. Pgs. 107-120.

2008. With Vincanne Adams. The Three Channels in Tibetan Medical and Religious Texts, including a translation of Tsultrim Gyaltsen’s ‘Treatise on the Three Channels in Tibetan Medicine.’ Traditional South Asian Medicine 8: 86-115.

2007. Critical Methods in Tibetan Medical Histories. Journal of Asian Studies 66 (2): 368-387.

2007. Embodiment and Embryology in Tibetan Literature: Narrative Epistemology and the Rhetoric of Identity. In Soundings in Tibetan Medicine: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, ed. Mona Schrempf, 411-426. Leiden: Brill Publishers.

2007. Buddhism and the Historicizing of Medicine in Thirteenth Century Tibet. Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity 2 (2): 204-224.

2005. Ordering human growth in Tibetan medical and religious embryologies. In Textual Healing: Essays on Medieval and Early Modern Medicine, ed. Elizabeth Furdel, 31-52. Leiden: Brill Publishers.

2005. Hybrid Methodologies in the Lhasa Mentsikhang. The Tibet Journal 30 (1): 55-64.

2004. Fluent Tibetan Workbook. Tibetan language workbook and system of interactive classroom games to supplement Fluent Tibetan textbook, used in Tibetan language courses at University of Virginia from 1994-2003 and at University of California, Santa Barbara, from 2002.


2012 – Northrup Frye Award, University of Toronto

Research Grants

2018 – University of Toronto Excellence Award

2017 – SSHRC SIG grant

2017 – SSHRC Insight Grant (2017-2022)

2016 – SSHRC SIG grant

2016 – University of Toronto Excellence Award

2015 – SSHRC SIG grant

2015 – University of Toronto Excellence Award

2013 – SSHRC small scale research award

2012 – SSHRC small scale research award

2011 – University of Toronto Excellence Award

2011 – Jackman Humanities Institute Faculty Fellow (served 2012-13)

2011 – Research and Translation Contract from 84,000 (with Ben Wood and Kunga Sherab, 2011-13)

2011 – SSHRC Aid to Research Workshops Grant (2011-12)

2011 – SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2011-2014)

2010 – Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts Grant (2010)

2010 – SSHRC Research Development Initiative Grant (2010-2012)

2009 – SSHRC SIG grant

2009 – SSHRC Image, Text, Sound and Technology Grant (2009-2010)

2008 – SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2008-2011)

2008 – Jackman Humanities Institute Working Group Grant

2008 – SSHRC small scale research award

2007 – SSHRC small scale research award

2006 – David Larson Fellowship at the Kluge Center, U.S. Library of Congress (served in 2007-08)

2006 – Individual Research Grant, American Academy of Religion

2006 – SSHRC SIG grant

2005 – Connaught Fund

2006 – SSHRC SIG grant

2005 – Connaught Fund New Staff Matching Grant

2005 – Connaught Start-up Grant

Recent Grants & Contracts for Teaching-Related Projects

2018 – Dean’s International and Indigenous Initiatives Fund (with Matt Price) to support “Himalayan Borderlands” trip to Sikkim, India

2017 – ATLAS grant from FAS for “Pilot modules for immersive experiential learning” (with Matt Price)

2016 – LEAF grant from Office of the Provost, for “University of Toronto Outdoors (UTO): Engaging Place-Based and Expeditionary Learning” (with Matt Price)

2016 – Dean’s International Initiatives Fund (with Matt Price) to support “Himalayan Borderlands” student course in Sikkim, India

2016 – MTCU-funded provincial Shared Online Course fund, to support the creation of an Online Classical Tibetan course

2015 – Online Undergraduate Course Initiatives Award, two awards to support the creation of an Online Classical Tibetan course

2015 – Dean’s International Initiatives Fund and TLKY Teaching Fund (with Matt Price), two awards to support “Mapping Buddhist Landscapes in Sikkim,” a student research trip to Sikkim, India

2011 – Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario research contract for the project “Networked Academic Profiles for Student-Faculty Collaboration” (with Matt Price)

2011 – U of T Instructional Technology Initiative Fund award for the project “Networked Academic Profiles for Student-Faculty Collaboration” (with Matt Price)