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Research Fellows

Dr Ligeia Lugli

Newton Fellow


Address: Department of Theology & Religious Studies
King’s College London
Room 3.37, Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway


Ligeia Lugli is Newton Fellow at King’s College. She graduated in Asian Languages from Ca’ Foscari University (Venice) and received her Ph.D. in Study of Religions from SOAS (University of London) in 2011. She also studied at the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath and at Ōtani Daigaku in Kyōto, where she read Buddhist texts in Sanskrit, Japanese and Tibetan. She was Research Associate in London in 2012-2013 and Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley until 2016.

Ligeia has been working in Sanskrit Digital Humanities both in the UK and in the USA. She worked for Durham University and the University of Oxford, where she contributed to the development of Śāstravid, a resource for the study of Buddhist philosophy. In recent years, she served as Senior Research Fellow at the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages in Berkeley (California), where, together Prof. Luis Gómez, she led the development of the Buddhist Translators Workbench [], a lexicographic project that explores key lexical items in the Buddhist vocabulary.
Research interests
  • South Asian Mahāyāna (especially hermeneutics and conceptual history)
  • Sanskrit corpus linguistics (especially developing new approaches to word-sense annotation)
  • Buddhist Sanskrit lexicology and lexicography
  • Digital methods for the study of Buddhist sources
  • Issues in the translation of Buddhist Sanskrit texts and vocabulary

My current research lies at the intersection between Buddhist Studies and Linguistics. I am particularly interested in using corpus methods to study Sanskrit Buddhist sources and Mahāyāna conceptual history. As part of my Newton International Fellowship at King’s College, I investigate patterns of lexical variation in Mahāyāna scholastic literature with a view to explore the interplay between lexico-semantic change and the hermeneutic practices and philosophical development of South Asian Buddhist traditions.

My interest in corpus linguistics extends to the practical and theoretical aspects of building and querying annotated corpora of Buddhist Sanskrit literature. My primary goals in this area are the development of new systems for annotating the meaning of words in context and the creation of corpus-annotation workflows that can be applied to texts that pose interpretive difficulties. My main contributions in this regard have been the creation of a semantic-annotation system based on the conceptual taxonomy of the Historical Thesaurus of English and a typology of uncertainty to record interpretive problems and divergent readings (both developed within the framework of the Buddhist Translators Workbench at the Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages). I am also interested in the application of corpus methods to translation practice. I am currently combining Sanskrit corpus data and theories of terminology to help inform the dialogue on terminological translation in the field of Buddhist Studies.   

My other areas of research include South Asian Buddhist philosophy (especially Yogācāra reflections on language) and Mahāyāna sūtras (especially the Laṅkāvātara and Tathāgatācintyaguhya).

Selected publications
  • ‘Mapping meaning across time and cultures: Innovations in Sanskrit lexicography’. In Words Dictionaries and Corpora: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of ASIALEX. Hong Kong. 2015.
  • ‘Debatable Truths: What Buddhist Argumentation Can Teach Us about Critical Thinking”. Contemporary Buddhism, Special Issue on Critical Thinking in Buddhist Studies, 1–30. 2015.
  • ‘Meaning without Words: On the Contrast between Artha and Ruta in Mahāyāna Sūtras’. Buddhist Studies Review, 27(2): 139–176. 2010.
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