Iselin Frydenlund


Phone: 22590619
Office: 424B


I hold a PhD in religious studies from University of Oslo (2011) on Buddhism and violence during the Sri Lankan civil war, and my research interests include the role of religion in war and peace, suicide terrorism, interreligious dialogue, and freedom of religion or belief.

My research area is Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, specializing in questions concerning the relationship between Buddhism, nationalism, politics and violence. Currently, I am working on Buddhist political and legal activism in Myanmar and Sri Lanka and Buddhist-Muslim relations in South and Southeast Asia. I take a particular interest in fieldwork methodology in the study of religion in its social context.

For a number of years, I have been affiliated to the Peace Research Institute Oslo, PRIO, and Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo, and I have cooperated with the Buddhist Federation of Norway and monastic organizations in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bangladesh, on religious minority rights in Buddhist majority states. I am also deeply engaged in an academic exchange program with Myanmar Institute of Theology.

Member of MF CASR

Selected publications

  • Frydenlund, I. (2019). The rise of religious offence in transitional Myanmar. Outrage: The Rise of Religious Offence in Contemporary South Asia, s. 77 - 102. UCL Press. ISBN: 9781787355286
  • Frydenlund, I. (2018). Tamil Militancy in Sri Lanka and the Role of Religion. Oxford Research Encyclopedias - Religion. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199340378
  • Frydenlund, I. (2017). Religious Liberty for Whom? The Buddhist Politics of Religious Freedom During Myanmar’s Transition to Democracy. Nordic Journal of Human Rights, 35(1), s. 55 - 73. ISSN: 1891-8131
  • Frydenlund, I. (2017). Buddhist Militarism Beyond Texts: The Importance of Ritual during the Sri Lankan Civil War. Journal of Religion and Violence, s. 27 - 48. ISSN: 2159-6808
  • Frydenlund, I. (2017). ‘Operation Dhamma’: The Sri Lankan Armed Forces as an Instrument of Buddhist Nationalism. Military Chaplaincy in an Era of Religious Pluralism: Military–Religious Nexus in Asia, Europe, and USA, s. 81 - 103. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199470747
  • Frydenlund, I. (2017). The birth of Buddhist politics of religious freedom in Myanmar. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, s. 107 - 121. ISSN: 2056-6093
  • Frydenlund, I. (2017). "Buddhism has Made Asia Mild" : The Modernist Construction of Buddhism as Pacifism. Buddhist Modernities: Re-inventing Tradition in the Globalizing Modern World, s. 204 - 221. Routledge. ISBN: 9781138687844
  • Frydenlund, I. (2016). Particularist Goals through Universalist Means: The Political Paradoxes of Buddhist Revivalism in Sri Lanka. Buddhism and the Political Process, s. 97 - 120. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 9781137573995
  • Frydenlund, I. (2016). Bodu Bala Sena: Army of Buddhist Power. World Religions and Spirituality Project. Search in Cristin...
  • Frydenlund, I. (2013). “Religion, civility and conflict – towards a concept of “critical civility”. Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, 23(1), s. 109 - 124. ISSN: 0926-2326
  • Frydenlund, I. (2012). Canonical Ambiguity and Differential Practices: Buddhism and Militarism in Contemporary Sri Lanka. Buddhism and Violence. Militarism and Buddhism in Modern Asia, s. 95 - 119. Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-53696-7
  • Frydenlund, I. (2005). The Sangha and its relations to the Peace Process in Sri Lanka. Search in Cristin...
  • Frydenlund, S. I. (2005). Hør Her! Du som er fra Norge. Feltarbeidserfaringer fra et konfliktfylt Sri Lanka. Kulturvitenskap i felt. Metodiske og pedagogiske erfaringer, s. 163 - 183. Cappelen Damm Høyskoleforlaget. ISBN: 82-7634-658-8
  • Frydenlund, I. (2004). «Buddhaer og bazukaer: motstridende bilder av vold og buddhisme på Sri Lanka». DIN - Tidsskrift for religion og kultur. ISSN: 1501-9934

Latest academic publications

  • Frydenlund, I., Pum Za, M., Wai, P. & Hayward, S. (2021). Religious Responses to the Military Coup in Myanmar. Review of Faith & International Affairs, 19(3), s. 77 - 88. ISSN: 1557-0274
  • Frydenlund, I. & Jerryson, M. (2020). An Introduction: Buddhist-Muslim Relations in a Theravada World. Buddhist-Muslim Relations in a Theravada World, s. 1 - 21. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 978-981-32-9883-5
  • (2020). Buddhist-Muslim Relations in a Theravada World. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 978-981-32-9883-5
  • Jerryson, M. & Frydenlund, I. (2020). Buddhists, Muslims and the Construction of Difference. Buddhist-Muslim Relations in a Theravada World, s. 263 - 297. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 978-981-32-9883-5
  • Frydenlund, I. (2019). Buddhist Islamophobia: Actors. Tropes. Contexts. Handbook of Conspiracy Theory and Contemporary Religion, s. 279 - 302. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN: 978-90-04-38150-6
  • Frydenlund, I. (2019). Protecting the Sasana through Law: Radical Buddhism and Religious Freedom in Transitional Myanmar. Secularism, Religion, and Democracy in Southeast Asia, s. 194 - 212. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199496693
  • Frydenlund, I. (2019). A New Formatting: Myanmar’s 2015 "race and religion laws". Formatting Religion: Across Politics, Education, Media, and Law, s. 37 - 55. Routledge. ISBN: 9781138599987
  • Hayward, S. & Frydenlund, I. (2019). Religion, Secularism, and the Pursuit of Peace in Myanmar. Review of Faith & International Affairs, 17(4), s. 1 - 11. ISSN: 1557-0274
  • Frydenlund, I. (2019). The rise of religious offence in transitional Myanmar. Outrage: The Rise of Religious Offence in Contemporary South Asia, s. 77 - 102. UCL Press. ISBN: 9781787355286
  • Frydenlund, I. (2018). Buddhism and violence: an Oxymoron? Text and tradition in Buddhist Just-War Thinking. The Warrior and the Pacifist. Competing Motifs in Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, s. 13 - 35. Routledge. ISBN: 9781138585430

Education and professional practice

1996 - 1997Post-graduate Studies, London School of Economics
2011PhD, University of Oslo, History of Religion


1996Elected National Leader of The Norwegian Solidarity Committee for Latin America (Latin-Amerikagruppene i Norge (LAG)
2005Steering Board Member, Asianettverket (Network for Asia studies in Norway).
2008Institute board member, IKOS, University of Oslo
2010Member of external board, co-operation between PRIO and Indian Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA).
2012Norwegian representative to the Domain Committee of Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health (ISCH) in COST (EU)
2016 - presentMember, Scientific Board, MF
2017 - presentAcademic advisor, NORPART Myanmar project at MF
2017 - presentCo-organizer (together with Dr. Jens Borgland) of the Nordic Network for Buddhist Studies
2017 - presentEditorial board, Journal of Religion and Violence