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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Sara Ann Swenson

Sara Ann Swenson portrait

PhD Candidate, Communities and Identities


514 Hall of Languages


  • Degree: Began Ph.D. program in 2013.
  • Concentration: Communities and Identities
  • Advisor: Gareth Fisher

Sara Ann Swenson is a doctoral candidate in the Religion Department at Syracuse University. Her dissertation analyzes how charity volunteers in Vietnam adapt Buddhist worldviews and practices to navigate ethical struggles amid rapid urbanization. Her research is based on eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Ho Chi Minh City from 2017 to 2019.

Her work has been funded through the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship; Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA); and The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in Buddhist Studies, awarded through the American Council of Learned Societies.

Swenson holds an M.Phil. in Religion (Syracuse University, 2016), a Certificate of Advanced Study in Women’s and Gender Studies (Syracuse University, 2015), an M.A. in Comparative Religion (Iliff School of Theology, 2012), and a B.A. in English (University of Minnesota Duluth, 2009).