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 project together with Professor Gavin Flood and founder of the OCHS Kathmandu Office.
The Study of Religion and Hindu Studies; Indian languages (esp. Sanskrit, Vedic and Pali); Śāktism and tantric traditions in Nepal; The ascetic reformism (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.
His book publications include a translation of the Bhagavadgita (2009) and an introduction to Sanskrit in two volumes called Language of the Gods: Classical Sanskrit in Danish (2013). He is the editor of Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism: History, Practice and Doctrine (Routledge, 2015) and co-author on a Danish standard introduction to Hinduism with a focus on Varanasi (Systime, 2015). He is currently working on a Danish translation of the Haṭhapradīpikā, an English translation and critical edition of the Netratantra and a volume on Models of the Human in Tantric Hinduism together with Prof. Gavin Flood.
Professor Gavin Flood, FBA
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.
His research interests are in medieval Hindu texts (especially from the traditions of Śiva), comparative religion, and phenomenology.
Two recent books are The Importance of Religion: Meaning and Action in Our Strange World (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013) and The Truth Within: A History of Inwardness in Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism (Oxford University Press, 2014). Developing from the comparative interests of these books, he is currently working on a project on religion and the philosophy of life as well as developing closer textual work on a Sanskrit text called the Netratantra. He is general series editor of the Oxford History of Hinduism.
Dr Silje Lyngar Einarsen
Researcher and Co-Manager
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 project.
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 project 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 project.
Silje is co-author on a Danish standard 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.
Dr Rajan Khatiwoda
Research Fellow and Kathmandu Office Honorary Leader
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.
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.
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).
Dr Silvia Schwarz Linder
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.
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.
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.
Data Scientist and Digital Humanities Consultant
Ulrik recently defended his DPhil thesis in Computer Science from the University of Oxford, and has an interdisciplinary background with an MA in the Study of Religion and Psychology from the University of Aarhus and an MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Oxford. He was awarded the EPSRC Doctoral Prize in 2019 for his thesis research, and has received multiple prizes for research communication and impact, including the 2017 DOMUS Prize from Linacre College, and the 2020 MPLS Impact Awards. Ulrik previously worked in London as a producer for the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn.
At the Śākta Traditions research project, Ulrik provides support and consultancy on natural language processing methods for analysis of large text corpora, using reproducible workflows in R Markdown. At the computer science department, he researches design strategies for supporting self-control over digital device use, using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods including large-scale web scraping, automated textual analysis, experimental studies, and participant interviews. At Aarhus University, his MA thesis analysed religion as a culturally evolved set of beliefs and practices for scaffolding self-regulation.
Tanja Louise Jakobsen
Creative Manager and research assistant
Tanja holds an MA in South Asian Studies from Aarhus University, Denmark, and was an affiliated student at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) throughout her MA. She is a research assistant and creative manager at the Śākta Traditions project and the Haṭhapradīpikā translation project. She has a Bachelor 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 together with Iana Lukina.
Tanja is interested in Śākta women, haṭhayoga, cross-cultural communication and international relations and has done fieldwork in both India and Nepal.
Jakobsen, T.L., “Sāham – Vajrolīmudrā for yoginīer i Haṭhapradīpikā”, TOTEM, nr 37, spring (2016). Link
Jakobsen, T.L., Wernicke-Olesen, B., Einarsen, S.L., et al., Hathayogapradipika – Hathayogaens lys, Forlaget Univers, Højbjerg (Full translation with an introduction, forthcoming) (2018).
“Hathayogapradipika – 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).
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 project. Gitte is also a certified yoga teacher with an interest in yoga in a historical as well as a contemporary perspective.
Documentary Researcher and Photographer
Prema Goet is a multi-disciplinary researcher whose main interest lies in the intellectual history, culture and languages of South Asia. He received his BA in Sanskrit and MA in Philosophy and Religion from The School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) – University of London. He is currently a visual-anthropologist researcher for The Śākta Traditions Research Project at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. His interest focuses mainly on the performative ritual practices of various ascetic groups of South Asia. He has extensively worked with various practitioners from the region (India, Nepal and Bangladesh), documenting and producing a vast array of ethnographic works on tantric rituals, worship of the Goddess(es), aghora and yogic practices, etc. Amongst other things, Prema has also produced and recorded various audio-recordings of traditional chantings and music performed by the various groups he has worked with. His 2019 exhibition at the OCHS, The Path of Śakti, was curated and introduced by Prof. Chris Dorsett from The Pitt Rivers Museum – University Of Oxford.
Guy St Amant
Visiting Fellow and Sanskrit Instructor, OCHS Kathmandu
Guy St. Amant is PhD candidate working on the religious and intellectual history of premodern South Asia. Guy received his B.A. from Cambridge University and his M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation project reconstructs the historical development of arguments related to the justification of scriptural authority during the period that begins with the sixth century and ends with the thirteenth. This period is of importance as it witnessed the rapid expansion of epistemological and tantric text-traditions across religious groups. The project argues that epistemological engagement between Buddhists, Mīmāṃsakas, Śaivas, and others transformed standards of scriptural authority and informed the development of new scriptures as well as the exegetical strategies used to explain them. This dissertation illuminates further our understanding of these developments by interpreting approaches to scriptural authority and their influence on scripture within the broader field of cultural production within which they developed.
Iana holds an MA in South Asian Studies from Aarhus University, Denmark. Iana is currently working as an intern at Moesgaard Museum, Denmark. She is a part of the ethnographic department and is working on the UNESCO collection from Tamil Nadu, India. Iana is a research intern affiliated with the Śākta Traditions research project at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS). Iana has 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. Iana has organised an exhibition called ‘Hidden Treasures in Private Academic Collections’ at the OCHS where Śākta related objects were presented.
Iana’s interests lie in the field of cultural heritage preservation, cross-cultural communication and tribal population.
“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).