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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Melissa R. Kerin

Assistant Professor of Art History

Wilson Hall 3015
(540) 458-8858


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, Department of the History of Art
Dissertation Topic: 15th-17th-Century Buddhist Wall Paintings of India's Western Himalaya

MTS Harvard Divinity School, World Religions Program (Buddhist Studies)

B.A. Trinity College, Hartford, CT (Women's Studies)


I teach courses in South Asian (including Tibet and the Himalayas) and East Asian Art and Architecture. My research focuses on the intricate and multifaceted relationships between art and identity formation (political and cultural), cultural memory, and religious praxis.

Selected Publications

Monographs & Catalogues

Forthcoming Art and Devotion at a Buddhist Temple in the Indian Himalaya,
Indiana University Press, Spring 2014
2009 Artful Beneficence: Selections from the David Nalin Collection.
New York: Rubin Museum of Art Publications.

Articles & Reviews

2013 "Materiality of Devotion: Tibetan Buddhist Shrines of the Western Himalaya" in Art of Merit: Studies in Buddhist Art and its Conservation edited by David Park and Kuenga Wangmo (London: Archetype Publications), 286-296.
2010 Visual Evidence of 'Bri-Gung Activity in Nako, Kinnaur." In Proceedings of the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, Bonn, 2006, edited by Erberto Lobue and Christian Luzcanits. Leiden: Brill.
2008 "Reflections on Amy Heller's Early Himalayan Art" in
2007 "Little-Known Late-12th-Century Wall Paintings in Ladakh's Markha Valley." Orientations 38, no. 4: 54-59.

Honors & Awards


American Council of Learned Societies Fellow: One-year fellowship to work on project Materiality of Tibetan Buddhist Shrines: Devotional Objects and Ritual Agents in Tibet, Western Himalayan and the U.S.

2013 VFIC Mednick Fellowship Nominee and Awardee Support for fieldwork and research in Ladakh, India. Project title: Documentation and Analysis of Tibetan Buddhist Shrines in India's Western Himalaya
2010 Edward C. Dimock, Jr. Book Prize in the Indian Humanities: Awarded by the American Institute of Indian Studies for the best unpublished book manuscript on an Indian subject.
2008-2009 Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowship: One-year post-doctoral fellowship
2007-2008 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship: One-year fellowship for finishing the dissertation.