Douglas Ober

Douglas Ober
Visiting Assistant Professor

Areas of expertise:

  • South Asian History
  • Religion in Asia
  • Buddhist Studies
  • Colonialism in Asia


  • Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 2017
  • M.A., University of Washington, 2009
  • B.A., University of Puget Sound, 2004


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About Douglas Ober

Douglas Ober is a Visiting Assistant Professor in History at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and an Honorary Research Associate at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Ober is a historian of South Asia, Buddhism, and colonialism and teaches courses in world history. With more than a decade of archival and ethnographic research experience across a dozen countries in Asia, he has written on numerous Asia-related issues. Such topics include foreign diplomacy in colonial and postcolonial India, self-immolation in contemporary Tibet, Hindu nationalism and colonial architecture, Soviet influence in Asia, Victorian literature, and anti-caste activism, among other issues. 
His first book, Dust on the Throne: The Search for Buddhism in Modern India, was co-published in 2023 by Stanford University Press and Navayana Publishing. The book, which the Los Angeles Review of Books calls "broadly researched and vividly illuminated...eloquent and incisive, even lyric," tells the story of Buddhism's re-discovery and revival, its global manifestations, and the influential role that Buddhism and colonialism played in the making of modern Asia. He has also co-edited, with the anthropologist David Geary, two significant collections of essays on the history, anthropology, and politics of heritage and homelands, in the journals South Asian History and Culture and Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Dr. Ober has delivered more than a dozen public lectures in Asia, Europe, and North America, and his writings have appeared in both popular and academic outlets, such as Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Global Buddhism, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Arches, and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia. A former US Fulbright Fellow to India and Neubauer Fellow at the University of Chicago, Dr. Ober's research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the United States National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and Association for Asian Studies (AAS).
Alongside his formal academic work, Dr. Ober has designed and run several experiential education programs in the Indian Himalayas, the Sino-Tibetan borderlands, and the Baja peninsula of Mexico. He has served on management committees and boards serving Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal and on global migration research and administration issues in Canada. 
He is also an avid rock climber, runner, and all-around backcountry enthusiast and generally enjoys any time spent outside. He welcomes email contacts and connections, so don't hesitate to reach out: