Mark Dennis is Associate Professor of East Asian Religions at TCU, where he teaches courses in Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism, religion and violence, and world religious traditions.
He earned his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin in 2006, focusing on early Japanese Buddhism. He has a Ph.D. minor in Japanese literature. Before joining the Religion Department at TCU in 2007, he taught for four years at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He has lived in Japan and India for eight years where he studied Buddhism and Hinduism, and has traveled widely in Asia. His teaching focuses on the study and application of theories of religion to modern events, such as the Mumbai attacks, the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and the Tibetan diaspora. He uses games, case studies, video production, and other alternative pedagogies in class to engage students in course material. His research focuses on the reception history of Japanese Buddhist texts, looking particularly at notions of authorship, textuality, and canon. In 2010 he submitted two articles on the Shomangyo-gisho, a Japanese Buddhist text written in classical Chinese and attributed to Japan’s Prince Shotoku (574-622 CE). One of these articles examines the different ways in which four medieval Japanese monks used this text, while the second looks at modern representations of the Shomangyo-gisho in Japanese manga, or comic books. He also submitted for publication in 2010 an English translation of the Shomangyo-gisho. He is currently planning a volume of essays on the Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo's Silence with his colleague Dr. Darren Middleton. Dr. Dennis is an avid bicyclist and committed vegetarian.