Sara A. Swenson

|Assistant Professor
Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Religion

Sara Ann Swenson researches contemporary Buddhism in Vietnam. Her current work examines rising trends of Buddhist volunteerism in Vietnam's fastest growing urban area, Ho Chi Minh City. Drawing on twenty months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2015 and 2019, she explores how lay and monastic Buddhist charity workers coped with experiences of urban alienation by framing altruism as an intersubjective act that benefits all beings. Her scholarship shows how Buddhist practices fundamentally inform and drive a shift toward grassroots social service programming in Vietnam amid increasing economic privatization.

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Thornton, Room 211
HB 6036


  • B.A. University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • M.A. Iliff School of Theology
  • M.A.. Syracuse University
  • Ph.D. Syracuse University