James John Stewart Author of Evaluating Organization Development

James John Stewart

Research Associate
University of Tasmania

I am an Associate Researcher at the University of Tasmania. My main research areas are diet and animal ethics in South Asia, especially Sri Lanka. I am also concerned with wider ethical issues within the South Asian religious traditions, especially the way religious traditions justify violence that leads to communal conflict. This interest has also led me to explore other conflicts within religious traditions and I am now working on a project concerned with child monasticism in South Asia.


I became interested in South Asian Studies after living in Sri Lanka for nearly one year to study Pali and Sinhalese. Although I began my PhD with the idea that I would be primarily studying Pali literature, I felt a greater urgency to examine more contemporary questions of social and political importance. The expectation in western countries that Buddhists should be vegetarians has been an issue largely gone unstudied. My experiences in Sri Lanka led me to believe that the issue was much more complicated than we had previously been led to believe in the literature. It soon turned out these issues were heavily tied up with domestic and ethnic politics. The relationship between discourses of violence and non-violence, and the way these discourses can fracture or heal communal relationships, remains a general concern of mine.  


    Bachelor of Arts, University of Auckland, Auckland, 2004
    Masters, University of Auckland, Auckland, 2006
    PhD, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 2012

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    South Asian Studies, Sri Lanka, Animal Welfare Movements, Food Ethics, Applied Philosophy



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Vegetarianism and Animal Ethics in Cont Buddhism - Stewart - 1st Edition book cover


South Asia Research

Muslim-Buddhist Conflict in Contemporary Sri Lanka

Published: Nov 10, 2014 by South Asia Research
Authors: James J Stewart
Subjects: Religion, Anthropology - Soc Sci

The end of the civil war in 2009 heralded hope that a new era of peace and inter-ethnic cooperation might be possible in post-war Sri Lanka. This hope now seems, at best, mere wishful thinking, as this article highlights an emerging conflict between the Sinhalese Buddhist majority and Sri Lankan Muslims.

Journal of Buddhist Ethics

Violence and Nonviolence in Buddhist Animal Ethics

Published: Aug 30, 2014 by Journal of Buddhist Ethics
Authors: James J Stewart
Subjects: Religion, Asian Studies

Boiled alive for killing an ant. Suffering endless demonic flagellation for trading as a butcher. According to some Buddhist writings, these are just a few of the punishments bestowed upon those who harm animals. Are such promises sincere or are they merely hollow threats intended to inculcate good conduct?

The Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia

Cow Protection in Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka

Published: Oct 15, 2013 by The Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia
Authors: James J Stewart
Subjects: Religion, Anthropology - Soc Sci, Asian Studies

Although cow protectionism is a well-studied phenomenon in the case of India, it is less well understood in the case of Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka. According to fieldwork I conducted in Sri Lanka between 2011 and 2012 this neglect is shown to be unjustified. It appears that cow protectionism has carried over from India to Sri Lanka and it would seem that some who subscribe to the Sinhala animal welfare movement hold the cow in special consideration.

Journal of Buddhist Ethics

The question of vegetarianism and diet in Pali Buddhism

Published: Oct 15, 2010 by Journal of Buddhist Ethics
Authors: James J Stewart
Subjects: Religion, Asian Studies

This article is concerned with the question of whether Pāli Buddhism endorses vegetarianism and therefore whether a good Buddhist ought to abstain from eating meat.