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W&L Professor Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend Grant Li Kang will receive $6,000 to support research leading to a book on the metaphysics of three schools of Chinese Buddhism.

Li-Kang-600x400 W&L Professor Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend GrantLi Kang, assistant professor of philosophy

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced that Li Kang, assistant professor of philosophy at Washington and Lee University, has been selected to receive a summer stipend grant to support research leading to a book on Chinese Buddhism.

The NEH’s summer stipend program aims to stimulate new research in the humanities and its publication by providing a maximum award of $6,000 to support continuous work on a humanities project for two consecutive months during the summer.

Kang’s project, Bridging Chinese Buddhism and Contemporary Metaphysics, involves carefully uncovering, critically examining and systematically developing the underlying metaphysical commitments behind three prominent Chinese Buddhist schools: Tiantai, Huayan and Chan/Zen. The project seeks to demonstrate how these historical positions, when properly interpreted and integrated with contemporary resources, can be developed in a clear, intelligible and plausible way. Kang hopes this will deepen the understanding of the theories and practices of Chinese Buddhism, expand the scope and methodology of contemporary mainstream philosophy, show how different traditions can enrich each other and present how cross-cultural collaborations can advance an inquiry into questions about the world and ourselves.

“I am honored to receive this grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which recognizes the potential of bridging historical Chinese Buddhism with contemporary philosophy,” said Kang. “This support not only enhances my project’s visibility but also promotes engagement between these distinct philosophical fields. I hope that the project will serve as a promising avenue for exploring new ways of thinking and understanding, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and comprehensive philosophical discourse.”

Kang has been a member of the W&L faculty since 2019. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Wuhan University (China), a Master of Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews (U.K.) and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Syracuse University.

The NEH was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency to support research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. The NEH awarded grants for 238 humanities projects totaling $26.2 million for 2024, including 97 summer stipend grants totaling $582,000.

W&L faculty interested in being considered for nomination for NEH’s 2025 Summer Stipend Program must submit a project summary to Corporate and Foundation Relations by July 31. For more information, contact cfr@wlu.edu.

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