Dr. Keyworth conducts research in the areas of medieval Chinese and Japanese religious history. He has published on and specializes in three areas. (1) Religion, literature, poetry, and history of the Northern Song dynasty in China (960-1127) with special attention to the poet-Chan Buddhist monk Juefan Huihong (1071-1128) and the Japanese monk-pilgrim Jōjin (1011-1081). (2) Buddhist scriptures written or compiled in China (rather than in India or Central Asia, e.g., the Chinese Shoulengyan jing 首楞嚴經, T no. 945) and preserved in manuscript form in China (Dunhuang) and Japan. (3) Collections of Buddhist scriptures (yiqie jing, issaikyō 一切經) hand-copied for Shintō shrines during the 12th century in Japan (e.g., Matsuo 松尾大社[Kyoto] and Atsuta 熱田神宮 [Nagoya]). He has supervised graduate students studying the history of medieval and modern religion in China, Japan, and Korea, Daoism, and Buddhist studies.
He also leads cluster workshop 2.2 "'Secondary' Producers, 'Primary' Roles" (2017-2019) of an international, multidisciplinary SSHRC partnership grant funded project led by Dr. CHEN Jinhua (UBC), "From the Ground Up: Buddhism and East Asian Religions," http://frogbear.org/ (2016-2023). This cluster is tasked with investigating two questions: what roles did editors, scribes, translators, and readers play in canon-making of Buddhist literature in Chinese, and how did non-religious factors shape this process? Workshops are held in Japan, Korea, and China.