Dr. B.K. (Berthe) Jansen

  • docent
  • Buddhist Studies

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2379
E-Mail: b.k.jansen@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS India en Tibet
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.12d

Fields of interest

My fields of interest include Tibetan language, literature, religion, and history and how these affected and still affect Tibetan societies. My interests range widely from Tibetan oral traditions and folk culture to Buddhist philosophy, social and legal history, and heritage studies. I wrote my MPhil thesis on Tibetan wedding recitations, which is entitled: ‘A Tibetan Nuptial Oratory Tradition: the Molla from Dingri.’ (2010) My dissertation (submission date: November, 2014; date of defence: February 24, 2015), The Monastery Rules: Buddhist Monastic Organization in Pre-modern Tibet, focuses on pre-modern Tibetan monastic institutions and issues of social justice. This research concentrates on textual sources but is complemented by oral history based on fieldwork. I currently work as a post-doc within the VICI project Buddhism and Social Justice (January 2015- June 2015). This project is called ‘Law and Order during the Great Prayer Festival (sMon lam chen mo)’ and looks at the legal status and activities of monks in Lhasa during a festival in Lhasa in the 17th and 18th centuries. Together with Jonathan Silk I am in the process of editing the proceedings of the conference ‘Buddhism and Social Justice’.


  • 2015 (Jan.)-present: post-doc in the VICI project Buddhism and Social Justice
  • 2010-2015: PhD candidate in the VICI project Buddhism and Social Justice
  • 2008-2010: MPhil with distinction in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at Oxford University
  • 2005-2008: BA in Languages and Cultures of India and Tibet at Leiden University
  • 2003-2005: Tibetan language and interpreting with distinction at the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Programme, India
  • 2000-2003: Courses in Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan language at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, India

Relevant employment and teaching experience

  • 2012: Instructor of the course ‘Monasticism in World Religions’ at Leiden University

  • 2012: Instructor second year Classical Tibetan at Leiden University

  • 2012: Teaching-assistant for the course ‘Culture of Tibet’ at Leiden University

  • 2011: Assistant instructor for the one month Colloquial Tibetan Summer intensive at Heidelberg University

  • 2007-2008: Tibetan language instructor at the Maitreya Instituut (FPMT)

  • 2006- present: Tibetan language expert in linguistic counter-expertise for immigration lawyers

  • 2005-2008: Interpreter and translator of Tibetan at the Maitreya Instituut (FPMT)

  • 2004- present: Freelance interpreter of Tibetan for among others: Buddhist teachers (among whom the Dalai Lama), Amnesty International, lawyers and courthouses, Dutch television, and the documentaries ‘The Only Son’ (2012, Simonka de Jong) and ‘Carnot Straat 17’ (2015, Klara van Es).

Grants and awards

  • Shortlisted for the George Staunton Prize (for an article by a young scholar).

  • 2012: Shortlisted for the Professor Mary Boyce Prize (for an article relating to the study of religion in Asia).

  • 2010: Conference grant from Wolfson College (approx. EUR 200)

  • 2009: Grant from Stichting Talent Support (approx. EUR 1000, declined)

  • 2009: Research grant from the Oriental Institute, Oxford University (approx. EUR 900)

  • 2009: Travel grant from Wolfson College, Oxford (approx. EUR 200)

  • 2008-2010: HSP Talent-Scholarship, awarded by the Dutch Ministry of Education and Culture to cover a two year Masters-program at Oxford University (EUR 38070)

  • 2006: Caland Prize of Encouragement, awarded to the best first year student in ‘Languages and Culture of India and Tibet’ at Leiden University (EUR 125)

  • 2003-2005: Sponsorship by the Maitreya Instituut (FPMT) to pursue the interpreter’s course at the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Programme (approx. EUR 5500)


  • Februari 2010: ‘Wedding Recitations from Dingri: Approaching Tibetan Oral Literature’ at the Tibetan Studies Graduate Seminar in Oxford
  • July 2010: ‘Buddhist and non-Buddhist themes contained in Tibetan wedding recitations’ at the UKABS (United Kingdom Association of Buddhist Studies) conference in Leeds.
  • May 2011: ‘De Verbeelding van Tibet’ (Tibet in the Imagination) at the Studium Generale series: “Tibet, de ander anders bezien”


  • July, August 2012: Fieldwork in Northern India

  • March 2011: Fieldwork in Sichuan, China

  • July, August 2009: Fieldwork in Nepal and Northern India

  • July, August 2008: Fieldwork in Northern India

Relevant Coursework

  • January -June 2013: Cultural History course, at the Huizinga Institute Graduate School

  • February 2012: Course ‘Didactics for PhD Students and Teaching Assistants’, at ICLON, Leiden University
  • 2011-2012: Course ‘Oral History and Life Stories’ at the Huizinga Institute, Research Institute and Graduate School for Cultural History
  • February, March 2011: Course ‘Interviewing and Data-processing’, at ICLON, Leiden University

Ancillary Positions

  • 2012 - present: Board member of the International Seminar for Young Tibetologists

  • 2011- 2013: Member of the LIAS Advisory Council

  • 2011-2012: Chair of the LIAS PhD council

  • 2010-2011: Secretary of the LIAS PhD council

Other relevant experience

  • June 2015: Co-organizer of the conference ‘Perspectives on women and women’s perspectives in Tibetan Buddhist societies (17th to the 20th centuries)’, Leiden University

  • February 2015: Convener of the workshop ‘Between Tibetan Monasticism and Society’, Leiden University

  • April 2014: Co-organizer of the conference ‘Buddhism and Social Justice’, Leiden University

  • May 2012: Co-organizer of the LIAS PhD conference ‘Content or Discontent? Dealing with Your Academic Ancestors’, Leiden University

  • September- October 2011: Co-organizer of the Leiden University Studium Generale ‘Just how? Defining and Contextualizing Social Justice’

Language Competence







Native language




Near Native Fluency

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Working Knowledge

Working Knowledge

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Classical Chinese:


Working Knowledge


Last Modified: 11-12-2015