From-the-Ground-Up is original in several respects.

First, its interdisciplinary approach to varied visual and textual sources studied in situ promises to bring to light new material preserved across East Asia and to generate new insights about comparatively familiar sources.

Second, it will create an international network of top researchers whose work deals with East Asian religions. Many of its programs will pave the way for the creation of an ongoing consortium of institutions whose combined resources can accomplish goals that would be otherwise unachievable.

Third, its focus on on-site research will reinvigorate the field by publicizing a range of unknown or underappreciated sources, and call attention to the diversity of approaches that can be effectively employed to study them. The new community of collaborators, whose academic homes lie in a wide range of departments, will include both those who traditionally work onsite and others whose research does not typically prioritize this practice. By bringing the expertise of both groups together, the project will help break down longstanding barriers between the two.

Finally, this project will creatively train a number of high quality students and Highly Qualified Personnel (HQPs). At the project’s conclusion, the success of this crucial aspect of our project will be measured not only in terms of the number of students and HQPs trained, but also, more importantly, by the effectiveness of the unique manner in which these individuals will be trained and mentored.