People

Dr Bjarne Wernicke-Olesen

Research Director and Manager

Bjarne is a Research Lecturer at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and tutor in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sanskrit at the Theology and Religion Faculty, University of Oxford. He is the Research Director of the Śākta Traditions research programme together with Professor Gavin Flood and founder of the OCHS Kathmandu Office.

Research
The Study of Religion and Hindu Studies; Indian languages (esp. Sanskrit, Vedic and Pāli); Śāktism and tantric traditions in Nepal; The ascetic reformism (c. 6th to 2nd century BC); Medieval India and Nepal;  Yoga and asceticism; Myths and rituals; History of Ideas in South Asia; Theory and method, key thinkers and the history of research on religion.

Publications
His book publications include a translation of the Bhagavadgītā (2009) and an introduction to Sanskrit in two volumes (2014). He has co-authored an introduction to Hinduism (2015) and is the editor of Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism: History, Practice and Doctrine (2016). He is currently working on a Danish translation of the Haṭhapradīpikā and an English translation and critical edition of the Netratantra.

Email: bjarne.wernicke-olesen@theology.ox.ac.uk

Professor Gavin Flood, FBA

Research Director

Prof Gavin Flood

Gavin is a Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion in the Theology and Religion Faculty and Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Gavin read Religious Studies and Social Anthropology at Lancaster University and taught at the universities of Wales (Lampeter) and Stirling before coming to Oxford. He was elected to membership of the British Academy in 2014.

Research
His research interests are in medieval Hindu texts (especially from the traditions of Śiva), comparative religion, and phenomenology.

Publications
Two recent books are The Truth Within: A History of Inwardness in Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism (2014) and Religion and the Philosophy of Life (2019). Developing from the comparative interests of these books, he is currently working on a translation and critical edition of the Netratantra. He is general series editor of the Oxford History of Hinduism.

Email: gavin.flood@theology.ox.ac.uk

Silje Lyngar Einarsen

Researcher and Co-Manager

Silje Lyngar Einarsen

Silje is an Assistant Professor at Oslo Metropolitan University and PhD scholar at the Department for the Study of Religion at Aarhus University. She is currently co-manager of the Śākta Traditions research programme.

Research
Silje’s PhD research is concerned with the relationship between Hindu scriptures and religious practice. She has conducted research on the role of Śākta texts and ritual performances during Navarātri in Benares, combining textual and ethnographic research methods. In this regard she has worked primarily on Puranic textual material and ritual handbooks. Her role in the Śākta Traditions research programme is to look further into the neglected Śākta upa-purāṇas, being particularly concerned with the intersection of Sanskrit-Brahmanic and Tantric goddess traditions in these texts.
Silje is also interested in medieval yoga traditions and has worked on the Netratantra, the Kubjikāmātatantra and the Haṭhapradīpikā with other members of the Śākta Traditions research programme.

Publications
Silje is co-author on a Danish introduction to Hinduism with a focus on Varanasi (Systime, 2015) and is currently working on a Danish translation of the Haṭhapradīpikā. She has also published articles on the Navarātri festival and the Devīmāhātmya.

Email: sle@cas.au.dk

Dr Rajan Khatiwoda

Researcher and Kathmandu Office Honorary Leader

Dr Rajan Khatiwoda

Rajan is a Research Associate at the South Asian Institute, Heidelberg University and the Research Unit “Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal”, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Rajan has a PhD in South Asian Studies (Heidelberg University) and MA in Classical Indology (Nepal Sanskrit University, Balmeeki Vidyapeeth). Rajan has been a Research Assistant and Cataloguer at the Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project (NGMCP) at the Nepal Research Centre (NRC) in Kathmandu for 9 years (2004-2013). He is the Honorary Leader of our Kathmandu Office and a Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies affiliated with the Śākta Traditions research programme.

Research
His interests span widely from Śaivism to Indian Philosophy, Manuscriptology and Epigraphy with a special focus on medieval and pre-modern Nepalese legal History, and the emergence and practices of the Śākta traditions in the Kathmandu Valley.

Publications
His publications include  „Documented Evidence Relating to the Implementation of the Mulukī Ain in Mid-19th Century Nepal“, in: Studies in Historical Documents of Nepal and India, herausgegeben von Simon Cubelic, Axel Michaels und Astrid Zotter (im Erscheinen) (2018). Co-authored with Manik Bajracharya und Simon Cubelic. „Reporting across Borders in a Time of Turmoil: Eight Reports from Lokaramaṇa Upādhyāya from the Years 1837–1844,“ in: Abhilekha 34: 138-172 (2017). Co-authored with Simon Cubelic. „Nepalese Monarchy in an Age of Codification: Kingship, Patriotism, and Legality in the Nepalese Code of 1854“, in: Transnational Histories of the “Royal Nation”, herausgegeben von Milinda Banerjee, Charlotte Backerra and Cathleen Sarti, 67–86. Cham: Springer International Publishing (2017). Co-authored with Manik Bajracharya und Simon Cubelic. „Reporting across Borders: Four Reports of Lokaramaṇa Upādhyāya from the years 1831–1837“, in: Abhilekha 33: 120–133 (2016). Co-authored with Manik Bajracharya und Axel Michaels. „Six 19th-20th Century Documents on Elephants from the National Archives of Nepal“, in: Abhilekha 32: 96–105 (2015).  „Acyutāṣṭakavyākhyā by Vācaspati Panta: A testimony to Nepalese Scholarship“, in: Abhilekha 28: 90–103 (2012).

Email: Rajan.Khatiwoda@adw.uni-heidelberg.de

Dr Silvia Schwarz Linder

Researcher

Silvia has lectured in the past at the Leopold-Franzens-Universität in Innsbruck and at the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice, and is presently Research Associate at the Institut für Indologie und Zentralasienwissenschaften of the University of Leipzig and a Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies affiliated with the Śākta Traditions research programme.

Research
Her interests focus on the Tantric religious traditions of the Śrīvidyā and of the Pāñcarātra, specifically on the philosophical and theological doctrines expressed in the relevant South Indian Sanskrit textual traditions. She has also translated into Italian texts from the Sanskrit narrative and devotional literature, for editions aimed at a general readership.

Publications
Her publications include: The Philosophical and Theological Teachings of the Pādmasaṃhitā, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 2014.
“The 108 Names of the Goddess Tripurā in the Māhātmyakhaṇḍa of the Tripurārahasya“, in T. Goudriaan (ed.), The Sanskrit Tradition on Tantrism, E. J. Brill, Leiden 1990, 85-95.
“The Lady of the Island of Jewels and the Polarity of her Peaceful and Warring Aspects”, in A. Michaels, C. Vogelsanger, A. Wilke (eds.), Wild Goddesses in India and Nepal, Studia Religiosa Helvetica Jahrbuch, vol. 2, Peter Lang, Bern 1996, 105-122.
“The Relevance of rūpa and mūrti for the Doctrine of God in the Pādmasaņhitā”, Journal of Hindu Studies, Vol. 8, N. 2, Oxford 2015, 233-244.

Email: silvia.aviva.schwarz@gmail.com

Tanja Louise Jakobsen

Creative Manager

Tanja is currently studying for an MA degree in South Asian Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, and is an affiliated student at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) throughout her MA. She is creative manager at the Śākta Traditions research programme and the Haṭhapradīpikā translation project. She has a BA in the Study of Religion with Sanskrit and English Literature from Aarhus University. Tanja has been a visiting student and intern at the OCHS during her BA. She is the webmaster for the Śākta Traditions webpage.

Research
Tanja is interested in Śākta women, haṭhayoga, cross-cultural communication and international relations and has done fieldwork in both India and Nepal.

Publications 
Jakobsen, T.L., Wernicke-Olesen, B., Einarsen, S.L., et al., Haṭhapradīpikā – Haṭhayogaens lys, Forlaget Univers, Højbjerg (Full translation with an introduction, forthcoming 2019).
“Haṭhayogapradīpikā – Hathayogaens lys”, in: Pedersen, J.T.R. et al., Varanasi Hinduismens brændpunkt, Systime, Aarhus C, pp. 108-113. (2015).
“Chandogya Upanishad”, in: Pedersen, J.T.R. et al., Varanasi. Hinduismens brændpunkt, Systime, Aarhus C, p. 86. (2015).

Email: tanja@ochs.org.uk

Gitte Poulsen

Kathmandu Office Manager and Research Assistant

Gitte holds an MA in the Study of Religion from Aarhus University. In her thesis she combines philology and anthropology to investigate how the Pātañjalayogaśāstra is used to create a basis for authenticity at a Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher School located in Nepal. Gitte is a former student at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies where she has studied for three full terms. She has participated in long-term study programmes in Varanasi and Kathmandu. She is the Kathmandu Office Manager and a Research Assistant affiliated with the Śākta Traditions research programme. Gitte is also a certified yoga teacher with an interest in yoga in a historical as well as a contemporary perspective.

Email: gitte@ochs.org.uk

Prema Goet

Documentary Researcher and Photographer

Prema is a multi-disciplinary researcher whose main interest lies in the culture and languages of South Asia. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in South Asian Studies and Sanskrit from SOAS, University of London where he also obtained his Master’s degree in Philosophy and Religion (Traditions of Yoga and Meditation). His interests focus mainly, though not exclusively, on performative ritual practices from across different traditions of South Asia. Prema has worked with various practitioners from the region (India, Nepal and Bangladesh), documenting and producing various ethnographic works on tantric rituals, the worship of Goddess(es), yogic practices etc. (www.premagoet.com). Prema has also produced various audio documentaries for music and songs performed by the practitioners he worked with. He is currently a documentary researcher for the Sākta Traditions research programme at the OCHS and soon to embark on yet another field-research trip to India and Nepal.

Email: oiconoclasta@gmail.com

Iana Lukina

Intern

Iana is doing her MA in South Asian Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, and is currently a research intern affiliated with the Śākta Traditions research project at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS). She is assistant webmaster for the Śākta Traditions webpage together with Tanja Louise Jakobsen. Iana holds a Bachelor’s degree in the History of India and Bangladesh from Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia, and spend one year in India studying Hindi at Kendriya Hindi Sansthan.

Research
Iana’s interests lie in the field of cultural heritage preservation, cross-cultural communication and tribal population.

Publications
“India Northeast indigenous people adaptation to modern life” in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics Vol. 2, №2 (2016).
“Contemporary society of the Andaman Islands and problems of indigenous people” in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnosemiotics Vol. 3, №3 (2016).

Email:  iana.lukina.v@gmail.com