April Hughes

Assistant Professor of Religion

  • Title Assistant Professor of Religion
  • Office 145 Bay State Road
  • Phone 617-358-3585
  • Education Ph.D., Princeton University
    M.A., University of California, Los Angeles
    B.A., California State University, Northridge

April D. Hughes received her Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University in 2014. She completed M.A. degrees in East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research situates medieval Chinese religion within broader cultural and social contexts. She is especially interested in medieval Chinese Buddhist manuscripts and mural paintings discovered at Dunhuang (northwest China).

Her current book “Worldly Saviors and Imperial Authority in Medieval Chinese Buddhism,” is accepted and in press with the University of Hawai‘i PressThe book traces worldly saviors, particularly Maitreya Buddha and Prince Moonlight, as they appeared in apocalyptic scriptures discovered at Dunhuang, claims made by rebel leaders, and textual interpretations and assertions supported by Yang Jian (Wen of Sui, r. 581-604) and Wu Zhao (Wu Zetian, r. 690-705). The book highlights the centrality of apocalypticism to Chinese imperial sovereignty, which continued to echo long after the close of the medieval period.

Current CV


  • CAS RN 103 Religions of Asia
  • CAS RN 211 Chinese Religion
  • CAS RN 246 Sex, Death, and the Buddha
  • CAS RN 453/753 Topics in Religion and Sexuality

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