Nataly Shahaf

Nataly Shahaf


PhD, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, 2023
MA, East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University, 2015
BA, East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University, 2011


Nataly Shahaf is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the Department of Religion at Columbia University. She is a historian specializing in modern China, with a particular interest in the material and visual culture of religion and the intricate interplay between religion and science. Her scholarship is concerned with the question of the authentication of cultural truths. It asks how, in a context of profound political crisis, as in early twentieth-century China, people sought to legitimate their religious and cultural heritage by presenting and reproducing it in within a new information order. In her current book project, Multiple Exposures: Ghosts, Buddhism, and Visual Heritage in Early Twentieth-Century China, she investigates how visual media have shaped and been shaped by religious ideas, beliefs, and practices. Her study also explores the lives of lay Buddhists, exploring what it meant to be lay Buddhist in early 20th-century China.

In 2023, Nataly Shahaf completed her PhD at Columbia University's Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Her research has been supported by major grants and awards, including the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in Buddhist Studies, the Dan David Prize, the Henry Luce ACLS Program in China Studies,  as well as the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.