Robert Edward Gordon

Assistant Professor, General Studies

Associate Director of Initiative

Interdisciplinary Relations and Curriculum Development


Dr. Robert Edward Gordon is an Assistant Professor in General Studies at the Fred Fox School of Music in the College of Fine Arts, Affiliated Faculty with the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, and a Fellow at the UA Center for Buddhist Studies in the College of Humanities. Trained as a philosopher and an art historian, his work encompasses a broad range of interests: Eastern art and philosophy, art and economics, freedom and its relationship to the fine arts, art and poverty, and humanistic geography. With an emphasis on the epistemologies of contemporary life, his writings investigate how the meanings and ideas embedded in the world (artworks, architecture, nature) are experienced in terms of the attitudes, perceptions, and values of the individual. 

“There is something about human beings as we get older that makes us want to share what we know, to help the young and others by imparting our knowledge and wisdom in order to make a better society. At root we want to share our hearts. This is the core of humanistic geography and art: as a space that centers human experience as the fulcrum of meaning vis-à-vis environment, and a place where feelings and sentiments can find corporeal existence and privilege.” 

Dr. Gordon has taught art history and philosophy at various colleges and universities over the last ten years. He has lectured at large corporations and museums on Baroque and Contemporary Art, and worked in Chicago as a corporate art consultant in addition to managing a number of retail art galleries. Elements of his research are incorporated in the Japanese American National Museum’s Traveling Exhibition.

Professor Gordon is presently working with local museums and religious organizations on an exhibition that highlights the importance of Tibetan stupas located throughout the American Southwest. His current book project, Reality is Here: The Appearance of Buddhist Architecture in America, investigates the scriptural foundation for Buddhist architecture and its development in an American setting.



PhD - Art History, University of Arizona

MA - Art History, Arizona State University

BA - Philosophy, Arizona State University



Human Achievement & Innovation in the Arts

The Arts, Economics, and Entrepreneurship

Buddhist Visual Culture and the West 


Select Publications

"The Hidden Symbolism within Leonardo's Last Supper" Aleteia, June 26, 2019

“Special Places, Sacred Spaces: Two Traditional Buddhist Temples in Nihonmachi Los Angeles.” Space and Culture (September 2019).

"Binaries, Buddhism, and the Art of Reminders in the Work of Jacob Hashimoto." Athenaeum Review 3 (Winter 2019): 213-24.

“A Multi-Layered Drama” Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2018, p. C14.

“Kim Ki-chang: The Korean Caravaggio? Empathy and Intuition in the Life of Jesus Series,” Catholic Arts Today (Benedict XVI Institute: March 2018)

“Response,” in The Future of (High) Culture in America. Daniel Asia, ed. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle, UK, 138-48, 2015.

“Gateway to the Top of the World: Nishi Hongwanji Los Angeles,” Japanese American National Museum Traveling Exhibit, Los Angeles, CA., 2015

Human Achievement and Innovation in the Arts. Daniel Asia and Robert Gordon, et. al. Textbook, Great River Learning, Dubuque, IA, 2014

“Borobudur and the Concept of Path in Buddhism,” Smarthistory - Khan Academy (online), 2014.