Ian MacCormack studies how religion and politics relate when state and ruler take shape within a Buddhist world. As a PhD candidate, he focuses on religion in Tibetan intellectual history, exploring the intersections of Buddhist thought with specific institutional and political contexts. His dissertation research examines the active role of Buddhism in the development of the Tibetan state in the late seventeenth century, through a careful study of the scholarship and activities of the Desi Sangye Gyatso, including the governance of Tibet, the death and commemoration of the fifth Dalai Lama, and the rituals and architecture of Lhasa city and the Potala palace. His reading interests run the gamut of Tibetan literatures, from philosophy to poetics to government documents. He is especially concerned with situating the rigorous study of Tibet within the discipline of the Study of Religion, and with an awareness of the broader South and East Asian religious landscape.