Frances Garrett

Associate Professor
Jackman Humanities Building, Room 302, 170 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5R 2M8


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Buddhist studies
  • Tibetan Buddhism
  • Buddhism and medical traditions in Asia


I have taught in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto since 2003. I grew up in Oregon, received a B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia in 2004.

My research has examined the intersections between tantric practice, ritual and occult knowledge and medical theory, and what these tell us about the processes of institutional and ideological change in Tibet. I have also worked on the Tibetan King Gesar epic. I am now beginning a project focused on Mount Khangchendzonga, together with colleagues in Toronto and Sikkim. Most recently in my teaching, with a team of colleagues and students I have developed an online Classical Tibetan language course, and I am co-founder of University of Toronto Outdoors.



  • Undergraduate and graduate level courses on Buddhist Studies, Tibetan Buddhism, and Tibetan language and literature.



In progess, Food magic and eating the sky in Tibetan food yoga (scholarly article)

In progress, Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History: Transformations of sBas yul through Time. Volume of scholarly articles edited by Frances Garrett, Elizabeth McDougal, and Geoffrey Samuel

Under review, Healing mountains in Tibetan Buddhist literature (scholarly article)

Under review, Engaging Immersive Experiential Learning: Outdoor Education in the Humanities, scholarly article co-authored with Laila Stradz, Alysse Kennedy, Salina Suri, Matt Price, Laura Burnett.

Forthcoming, Gesar’s Therapeutic Geographies. In edited volume to be published by Brill, edited by Matthew Kapstein.

2018. Sensory learning and engaged pedagogy in a Buddhist Studies classroom. Teaching Theology and Religion 21:4.

2018. Teaching Walking at University. In PADometer Magazine 1.

2017. Nettle Tibetan. Two semester-long Classical Tibetan courses online with original textbook materials and newly developed software interface. Co-authored by Frances Garrett, Kunga Sherab, Edward Garrett, and Annie Heckman.

2016. Hidden Paradises of the Himalaya: Kangchenjunga & Beyul. In Alpinist 54.

2015. If You Build It, Will They Come? An Evaluation of Whiteboard, a Networked Academic Profiles Project. co-authored with Matt Price, Stian Haklev. Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Research Publications.



2012 – Northrup Frye Award, University of Toronto

Research Grants

2018 – University of Toronto Excellence Award

2017 – SSHRC SIG grant

2017 – SSHRC Insight Grant (2017-2022)

2016 – SSHRC SIG grant

2016 – University of Toronto Excellence Award

2015 – SSHRC SIG grant

2015 – University of Toronto Excellence Award


Recent Grants & Contracts for Teaching-Related Projects

2018 – Dean’s International and Indigenous Initiatives Fund (with Matt Price) to support “Himalayan Borderlands” trip to Sikkim, India

2017 – ATLAS grant from FAS for “Pilot modules for immersive experiential learning” (with Matt Price)

2016 – LEAF grant from Office of the Provost, for “University of Toronto Outdoors (UTO): Engaging Place-Based and Expeditionary Learning” (with Matt Price)

2016 – Dean’s International Initiatives Fund (with Matt Price) to support “Himalayan Borderlands” student course in Sikkim, India

2016 – MTCU-funded provincial Shared Online Course fund, to support the creation of an Online Classical Tibetan course

2015 – Online Undergraduate Course Initiatives Award, two awards to support the creation of an Online Classical Tibetan course

2015 – Dean’s International Initiatives Fund and TLKY Teaching Fund (with Matt Price), two awards to support “Mapping Buddhist Landscapes in Sikkim,” a student research trip to Sikkim, India


PhD, University of Virginia
BA, Columbia University