Department of East Asian Languages and Culture
Chun-fang Yu was born in China and educated in Taiwan. She graduated from Tunghai University in 1959 with a double major in English Literature and Chinese Philosophy. She came to the States for graduate study and received a M.A. degree in English from Smith College in 1961 and a Ph.D. degree in Religion from Columbia University in 1973. Before coming to Columbia, she taught at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, from 1972 until 2004, serving as the chair of the Religion Department since 2000. Her primary field of specialization is Chinese Buddhism and Chinese religions.
She is interested in the impact of Buddhist thought and practice on Chinese society as well as the impact of Chinese religious traditions on the domestication of Buddhism in China. She is the author of The Renewal of Buddhism in China: Chu-hung and the Late Ming Synthesis (Columbia University Press, 1981), Kuan-yin, the Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara (Columbia University Press, 2001), and the co-editor of Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China (Univ of California Press, 1992). She is completing a study of Buddhist nuns in contemporary Taiwan, focusing on the roles they have played in the revival of Buddhism in Taiwan during the last three decades.