My name is Beiyin Deng (邓蓓茵 in Chinese, ဗေဒါ in Burmese), Ph.D. Candidate in Religious Studies at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, U.S. I am interested in contemporary Buddhist material culture, state-religion relationship, and religion in public diplomacy in Southeast Asian and Chinese traditions.
My dissertation project investigates the cultural, religious, and political factors that condition and influence the development of the transnational trade of marble Buddhist images across the Sino-Burmese border since the late 1980s. It aims to illuminate how the circulation of Buddhist icons connects the past and the present in both states and constantly shapes the ethnic and religious boundaries between two communities that are usually categorized as “Theravada” and “Mahayana.”