South Asia Institute
South Asia Institute

Matthew Milligan

B.A. Albion College, M.A. University of Texas, University of Texas

PhD Candidate; co-editor-in-chief of Sagar



Indian Buddhism, Indian archaeology, epigraphy, art, Buddhist literature in Sanskrit and Pali


Matthew D. Milligan is originally from Flint, MI and received his B.A. from Albion College in 2006.  There he majored in Religious Studies and Anthropology.  Later, he earned an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 and entered PhD Candidacy in Asian Studies during the fall of 2012.  He studies Indian Buddhist material culture with a focus on epigraphy, art, and their descriptions in Pali and Sanskrit literature.  His most recent project is on institutional patronage and donor networks in the shared Indian religious landscape of the early centuries BCE.  Aside from rigorous academic study, Matthew enjoys basketball, amateur bodybuilding, and snow skiing.  He currently operates 56 fantasy basketball teams.


I am studying early Indian Buddhism during the Early Historic Period (300 BCE - 300 CE) through an interdisciplinary framework that includes Area Studies, History, Art History, Anthropology, Archaeology, and Epigraphy.  For my dissertation, I intend to explore methods of patronage via extant sources such as inscriptions, art, and literature.  I hypothesize that the early Indian Buddhist monastic order could not fully evade engaging in economics so they, in turn, used innovative strategies to take advantage of unique economic situations for the benefit of their order consistenting primarily of upper class converts.

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