Mark Allon is Senior Lecturer in South Asian Buddhist Studies at the University of Sydney. He did his undergraduate studies at the Australian National University, Canberra, and received his PhD in Buddhist Studies at the University of Cambridge. His primary research interests are the composition and transmission of early Buddhist literature, the ways in which texts have been used by Buddhist communities, and the Indic languages of early Buddhist texts (Pāli, Gāndhārī, Sanskrit). He is involved in two major research projects. The first concerns the study and publication of the recently discovered Gāndhārī Buddhist manuscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The second involves the conservation, photographing, and study of the Kuthodaw Pagoda marble stelae recension of the Pāli canon in Mandalay, Myanmar. He is the author of Style and Function: A Study of Dominant Stylistic Features of the Prose Portions of Pāli Canonical Sutta Texts and Their Mnemonic Function (Tokyo, 1997) and Three Gāndhārī Ekottarikāgama-Type Sūtras: British Library Kharoṣṭhī Fragments 12 and 14 (Seattle, 2001).
Stephanie Majcher is Lecturer in Sanskrit at the Australian National University. She undertook her studies at the University of Sydney, receiving a University Medal for her Honour’s degree in Sanskrit, and was awarded her PhD in 2017. Her central research interests are the ways in which modern assumptions about Sanskrit have influenced the interpretation of South Asian religious texts, depictions and demonstrations of language (vāc) in mid-Vedic texts (Brāhmaṇas and Āraṇyakas), and the emerging role of digital corpora in the research and study of ancient texts. She is presently engaged in two main research projects. The first involves an examination of mid-Vedic texts and revision of existing scholarly editions. The second concerns the study and publication of ancient Buddhist manuscripts from Gandhāra (modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan) and addresses issues of digital collaboration with respect to linguistic and textual analysis.
Joe Marino is currently a lecturer in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he teaches courses on Sanskrit and South Asian religions. Starting in autumn of 2020 he will serve as assistant professor of Buddhist studies.
His research area, broadly defined, is early Buddhist literature in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Chinese. He focuses on first-to-third century Buddhist manuscripts from Gandhāra, a multicultural region critical to the transmission of Buddhism from India to China. He uses philological methods to study the manuscripts’ language, script, and texts. He also draws upon insights from religious studies and literary theory to explore the function of metaphorical language in early Buddhist sūtras. He is interested in understanding how composers used metaphors and similes to map Buddhist meaning onto the social and natural landscape of ancient India. In previous work He has looked at the use of city imagery to convey concepts like dharma and nirvāṇa and the adoption of blacksmithing imagery to illustrate Buddhist notions of discipline and self-transformation. His current work looks at the metaphor of hell as a pit of fire.
Ian McCrabb is the founder and managing director of Systemik (systemiksolutions.com), a Sydney based IT consulting group focused on enterprise websites in the corporate and government sectors. Systemik supports a portfolio of commercial and open source humanities research platforms clustered around content transformation and text analysis. Ian is the founder and director of Prakaś Foundation (prakas.org), a non-profit association established in 2005 to support digital scholarship in Buddhist studies and Sanskritic languages. Prakaś provides funding, strategic planning and program management for platform developments.
His PhD dissertation ‘Buddha Bodies and the Benefits of Relic Establishment: Insights from a Digital Framework for the Analysis of Formulaic Sequences in Gāndhārī Relic Inscriptions’ focused on methodologies for the analysis of donative inscriptions and characterization of the ritual practices and religious significance of relic establishment in Gandhāra. Ian was analyst/designer and project manager on the READ project; a research environment for ancient Sanskrit and Prakrit texts. Ian is the designer of READ Workbench (readworkbench.org) a corpus collaboration framework that delivers philological research capability, configured for individual projects, as software as a service.
Mike Skinner is an Instructor of History at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and received his PhD in Asian Languages and Literature from the University of Washington in 2017. His dissertation focused on Kushan inscriptions and examined this empire’s world historical impact in the early centuries of the Common Era. His research interests include South Asian history and epigraphy, Buddhism, and the transmission of people, products, and ideas in the early historic period. He is currently compiling the Kushan epigraphic corpus on the READ platform.