Hi visitor, I’m Sara Swenson! I work as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. The courses I teach survey religions of Southeast Asia and comparative religion. My current research explores how grassroots charity volunteers in Vietnam adapt Buddhist worldviews and practices to navigate ethical struggles amid rapid urbanization.
I love learning about religions in all their complexity, especially the ways that religions can inspire people to seek justice, build community, and find purpose in a chaotic world.
My work has been funded through the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship; Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA); and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in Buddhist Studies, awarded through the American Council of Learned Societies. My research has also benefitted from generous grants provided by Dartmouth’s Leslie Center for the Humanities and the American Academy of Religion (AAR).
I hold a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Religion (Syracuse University, 2021, 2016), a Certificate of Advanced Study in Women’s and Gender Studies (Syracuse University, 2015), an M.A. in Comparative Religion (Iliff School of Theology, 2012), and a B.A. in English (University of Minnesota Duluth, 2009).
In addition teaching and research, I enjoy running, creative writing, geeking out over science fiction, and exploring the outdoors with my dog.