Kelly Carlton joined the Ph.D. program in the Asian Religions subfield in 2018. Her research
focuses on Buddhism, popular religion, and popular religious literature in medieval China. In
particular, she is interested in how medieval Chinese Buddhist perceptions of karmic retribution
were shaped by a protracted, dynamic exchange among contemporaneous social, religious, and
philosophical traditions. Her current research examines how age, gender, and moral and
biophysical development determined young Buddhist adherents’ karmic culpability, salvific
agency, and participation in religious activities.
Her previous research explored saṅgha-state relations in seventh century China and Three
Kingdoms Korea, especially pertaining to Buddhist monks in positions of political and martial
Kelly graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Florida with a B.A. in History
(2014) and received an M.Phil. in Buddhist Studies, with Distinction, from St. Benet’s Hall,
University of Oxford in 2017.