I was born in England, in 1968, and completed a B.A. (Hons.) in Chinese Studies at Durham University, with a distinction in oral Chinese. As part of my language studies, I spent a year at Renmin University of China, in Bejing, and a summer on a scholarship at the Mandarin Training Center at Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. After my BA, I spent three years at Cambridge University studying theology and religious studies at the Faculty of Divinity. After graduating with an MA, I came to Boston, where I embarked upon a Ph.D. in the Division of Religious and Theological Studies at Boston University. I studied with Livia Kohn, one of the West’s leading experts on Daoism (aka Taoism), the organized indigenous religion of China, and also John Berthrong, Robert Neville and Tu Weiming (at Harvard), who were three of the great scholars of Confucian philosophy working in North America at that time.
From 2000 to 2018, I lived in Toronto and worked at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where I held a number of positions in the School of Religion, the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Cultural Studies. In 2007-2008 and 2015 I spent sabbaticals as a visiting research professor in the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
My research has focused mainly on traditional Chinese views of nature and environment, and I’ve published six books related to this topic.
- James Miller. China’s Green Religion: Daoism and the Quest for a Sustainable Future. New York: Columbia University Press 2017.
- James Miller, Dan Smyer Yu and Peter van der Veer, eds., Religion and Ecological Sustainability in China, New York: Routledge 2014.
- James Miller. The Way of Highest Clarity: Nature, Vision and Revelation in Medieval China. Magdalena, NM: Three PInes Press. Also distributed by University of Hawai’i Press.
- James Miller, ed. Chinese Religions in Contemporary Societies. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2006.
- James Miller, Daoism: A Short Introduction, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2003. Translated into Italian by M. Ghilardi, Daoismo: Una Introduzione, Roma: Fazi editore. Republished as Daoism: A Beginner’s Guide, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2008.
- N.J. Girardot, James Miller and Liu Xiaogan, eds., Daoism and Ecology: Ways within a Cosmic Landscape, Cambridge: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 2001.