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Dr Rembert Lutjeharms



D.Phil. in Theology (focusing on the theology of the sixteenth-century Caitanya Vaishvana poet and literary critic Kavikarnapura)- University of Oxford (2010)

MA in Oriental Studies - University of Ghent, Belgium

BA in Oriental Studies - University of Ghent, Belgium

Rembert is the Librarian at the Centre, and as a member of our Academic Planning Committee also helps to organise lectures and seminars at the Centre.

His research interests are Sanskrit poetry and poetics, early Caitanya Vaisnava history, and Sanskrit hermeneutics. Rembert has been teaching for our Hindu Studies Certificate Course since 2004 and is also an editor of the Journal of Hindu Studies, published by Oxford University Press.

Anuradha Dooney


BA in Social Science - University College Dublin

M.St. in the Study of Religion (Exploration of faith development in the Vaishnava tradition) - Oxford University

Anuradha is currently a Fellow of the OCHS, acting as a faculty member of the Continuing Education Department. Anuradha has been a tutor for courses in London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, and Leicester since 2003. She has acted as the principal curriculum writer for undergraduate degree courses granted by the University of Wales, Lampeter, courses taught in the UK and Belgium.

She has also organised and run academic and interfaith workshops, seminars and conferences internationally. Anuradha is a respected lecturer and broadcaster.

Dr Gillian Evison


Gillian Evison read theology at St. John's College, Oxford before moving to Wolfson College to complete the M.Phil in Classical Indian Religion.

Whilst finishing her D.Phil and working part time at the Wolfson Library, Gillian developed an interest in its collection of books on Indian religions. She started work at the Indian Institute Library, the Bodleian Library's specialist unit devoted to South Asian materials, in 1990 and was appointed as its Librarian in 1993. Gillian is also serves on a number of national committees devoted to South Asian librarianship and her special interests include the use of new technologies to open up access to South Asian collections in libraries and museums.

Dr Sanjukta Gupta


Dr Sanjukta Gupta worked as a lecturer in Sanskrit at Visva Bharati, Calcutta and Jadavpur Universities from 1958 to 1966. She subsequently joined Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 1967, where she held the post of senior lecturer in Sanskrit until 1986. She is presently a member of the Oriental Faculty of Oxford University, where she is a part-time tutor. Apart from Sanskrit, Dr Gupta also specialises in Indian philosophy (Vedanta) and ancient Indian religions, with particular emphasis on Tantra, Vaishnavism and bhakti and gender studies.

Peggy Morgan


Peggy Morgan was a former Honorary President of the British Association for the Study of Religions and Lecturer in World Religions at Mansfield College, Oxford. She has degrees in both theology and religious studies and has been involved not only in education in a variety of arenas, including schools, continuing education and distance learning degrees, but also in interfaith dialogue at various local, national and international levels.

She is a former chair of the Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education and of The Trustees of the International Interfaith centre, of which she is now a patron. Between September 1996 and May 2002 she was also Director of The Religious Experience Research Centre.

Publications include:

  • Testing the Global Ethic (with M. Braybrooke) - Conexus Publishers (1998)
  • Six Religions in the Twenty-First Century (with W.O. Cole) - Nelson Thornes (2000)
  • Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions (with C. Lawton) - Columbia University Press (2007)

Nicholas Sutton


PhD on the Religious Teachings of the Mahabharata - Lancaster University (1995)

BA Degree with First Class Honors from the Department of Theology - University of Birmingham (1991).

As Director for the Centre’s CE Dept. Nicolas is responsible for the development and accreditation of courses, teaching provision, assessment of course work, online provision, and publications. He also teaches and offers tutorials for students of our Hindu Studies Certificate Course. Dr Sutton currently lectures in Religious Studies for the Open University, and in Hinduism for the University of Nottingham. His work has also brought him into close contact with the Hindu communities in the North of England where he worked with Preston College and the local temples in organising courses of study in Hindu scripture and Hindu religious practice.

Publications Include:

  • Dr Sutton has contributed a number of articles on the Hindu tradition to academic journals, as well as chapters in edited books.
  • Religious Doctrines in the Mahabharata - published by Motilal Benarsidass, Delhi (2000)

Research Fellows


Kiyokazu Okita


D.Phil. from the Faculty of Theology - University of Oxford. (2011)

MSt in the Study of Religion - Oxford University (2004)

B.A. in Religious Studies - International Christian University, Tokyo (2001)

After serving as a lecturer at Department of Religion, University of Florida, Dr Kiyokazu Okita is currently a JSPS post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Indological Studies, Kyoto University. Starting from April 2013, he will be serving as an assistant professor at the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University.


Dr Bjarne Wernicke-Olesen



MA in the Study of Religion - Aarhus University

BA in Study of Religions - Aarhus University

BA in Classical Indology

Dr Wernicke-Olesen is a Research Lecturer at the Centre. He teaches courses, seminars and tutorials in Sanskrit, Pali and Indian religions as well as courses on manuscript reading and research history. He is the leader of the Śākta Traditions research project together with Prof. Gavin Flood and co-leader and founder of a research unit for South Asian Religion (SAR) and a student exchange programme at Aarhus University.

His research interests are: The Study of Religion and Hindu Studies; Indian languages (esp. Sanskrit, Vedic and Pali); Śāktism and tantric traditions; 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.

His research was supported by the Carlsberg Research Foundation from 2015-2017. .

Brainerd Prince


Bachelor of Commerce - Delhi University (1994)

MA in English - Himachal University (1997)

BA in Divinity - Serampore University, Pune (2001)

Brainerd is pursuing a PhD on Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of religion with a working title: Embodied Spirit: A Hermeneutical Reading of Aurobindo’s Integral Philosophy with Implications for the Study of Religion under Professor Gavin Flood, Oxford University. Apart from his work on Sri Aurobindo, his research interests include Hermeneutics, Phenomenology and the Academic Study of Religion.

Dr Kate Wharton


PhD in the Interpretation of the Upanisads - SOAS University of London (2008)

Dr Wharton has worked for three and a half years for the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as the deputy head advisor of Inter Religious Affairs. She studied Sanskrit in Mysore and is very interested in the theology of Ramanuja. Dr Wharton has also offered courses on Hindu and Buddhist Philosophy for Birkbeck College, London. She has organized a conference between Hindu and Christian leaders in Bangalore

Dr Ferdinando Sardella


Ph.D. - at the University of Gothenburg (2010)

MA in Religious Studies with a major in History of Religions - University of Gothenburg

B.Th. - University of Gothenburg

BA - University of Gothenburg

Ferdinando is presently a researcher at Uppsala University where he is conducting research on the historical and contemporary globalization of Vaishnavism. He is also the director of the Forum for South Asian Studies for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the same university.He became a fellow of the OCHS in 2011 and is the coordinator of the OCHS project 'Bengal Vaishnavism in the Modern Period'.

Publications include:

  • Modern Hindu Personalism: The History, Life, and Thought of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati - Oxford University Press (2012)

Dr Jessica Frazier


Dphil in Theology – Cambridge University
BA – Cambridge University
MsT in Religion – Oxford University

Jessica helps to organize lectures and seminars, research projects, conferences, and fellowships. She is also a member of the Centre's teaching staff, tutoring in the Faculty of Theology, and serves as secretary of our Academic Council, our Academic Planning Committee and the Theology Faculty's Study of Religions group.

Her publications include:
  • Reality, Religion and Passion: Indian and Western Approaches in Hans-Georg Gadamer and Rupa Gosvami - Lexington Books (2009),
  • Continuum Companion to Hinduism - Continuum Publishing Corporation (2010).
  • She is also founding editor of the Journal of Hindu Studies, published by Oxford University

Dr Kenneth Valpey

D.Phil. - Oxford University (2004)
M.St. in the Study of Religion - Oxford University (2000)
MA in the Cultural and Historical Study of Religion - Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley (1998)
BA (honours) in Religious Studies - University of California (1996)

His dissertation was entitled The Grammar and Poetics of Murti-Seva: Caitanya Vaisnava Image Worship as Discourse, Ritual, and Narrative. In 2006 Dr Valpey's dissertation was published in revised form with the Routledge/OCHS Hindu Studies Series as a monograph entitled Attending Krsna’s Image: Caitanya Vaisnava Murti-seva as Devotional Truth. Having taught courses in Indian and Asian religions for the year 2006 at the University of Florida and throughout the academic year 2007-08 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, he currently continues to teach at CUHK each Autumn semester as a Visiting Scholar.
Publications include:

  • Readings from the Bhagavata Purana (Co-authored with Ravi Gupta)
  • Champion to the Bhagavata Purana ( Co-authored with Ravi Gupta)

Senior Associate Fellows

John Brockington


John Brockington graduated from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1963 and joined the Sanskrit Department at Edinburgh in 1965, completing his D.Phil in 1968 with a thesis on the language and style of the Ramayana.

He remained at Edinburgh throughout his teaching career and is now emeritus Professor of Sanskrit in the School of Asian Studies (of which he was the first Head) and an Honorary Fellow in the Centre for South Asian Studies.

He has written several books and around 100 articles on his special area of research, the Sanskrit epics, as well as on other topics. He was the Secretary General of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies from 2000 to 2012 (and is now a Vice President) and he was the chair of the organising committee of the 13th World Sanskrit Conference, held at Edinburgh in July 2006

Dermot Killingley


Dermot Killingley studied Latin, Greek and Sanskrit in Merton College, Oxford from 1955 to 1959, and Middle Iranian languages in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from 1959 to 1961. He returned to SOAS in 1968 to study Indian philosophy. He taught in the Department of Indian Studies, University of Malaya, from 1961 to 1968, in the Department of Religious Studies, Newcastle University, from 1970 to 2000, when he retired as Reader in Hindu Studies. In 2008 he taught in the University of Vienna as Visiting Professor. He is now joint editor (with Simon Brodbeck and Anna King) of Religions of South Asia (RoSA). He has published research on aspects of ancient Indian thought, and on modern developments, particularly Rammohun Roy, Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan. His books include Rammohun Roy in Hindu and Christian Tradition, and a three-volume teaching course, Beginning Sanskrit.

Professor Patrick Olivelle


Professor Olivelle studied sanskrit and Indian Religions for his BA at Oxford University. He later pursued a PhD in the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Olivelle is very well known and highly regarded for his work on early Indian religions. His research interests are Ascetic Traditions and the History of the Idea of Dharma. Patrick Olivelle is a Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas. He has published many books such as The Asrama System: The History and Hermeneutics of a Religious Institution.

Francis X. Clooney, SJ


Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard University, USA, since 2005. Francis is a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus. He was previously Professor of Comparative Theology at Boston College, where he taught since 1984, after earning his doctorate in South Asian languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago. He served as Academic Director of the OCHS from 2002- 2004. His primary areas of scholarship have been theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India, and the developing field of comparative theology, a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological reading and writing in light of traditions other than one's own. He has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, and is interested in the dynamics of dialogue in a postcolonial world. He is on numerous editorial boards; was the first president of the International Society for Hindu-Christian Studies; and, from 1998 to 2004, was coordinator for interreligious dialogue for the Society of Jesus. Professor Clooney’s publications include Fr. Bouchet's India: An 18th-Century Jesuit's Encounter With Hinduism and Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary.

Prof. Thomas Hopkins


Prof. Thomas Hopkins, is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College, USA. He is the author of The Hindu Religious Tradition and has published numerous articles and encyclopaedia entries on all aspects on Indian religious life ranging from the Indus Civilisation to modern Bengal Vaishnavism. His special interest in the Vaishnava devotional tradition led to his first meeting with A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in New York in 1966, which focused his attention on the newly emerging ISKCON movement and started a long-term study of ISKCON's history and theology.


Prof. M. N. Narasimhachary


PhD in Sanskrit - University of Madras

Founder Professor & Head (Retired), Department of Vaishnavism, University of Madras, India. His specialist subjects include the Pre-Ramanuja Religion and Philosophy, Pancharatra Agama Literature, Telugu and Sanskrit Literature and popularisation of Sanskrit as a spoken tongue. He has published a number of books, articles and monographs in academic journals on topics such as the Samskrita Svapnah, Bhakti & Prapatti in Srivaishnava Philosophy and the Pancaratra-kantakoddhara.

Prof. Narasimhachary received the Certificate of Honour for Proficiency in Sanskrit from the President of India for the year 2004 and was the director of Academic Affairs at the OCHS from 2000-2001.

Prof. Narasimhachary passed away on 6 March 2013.

Prof. Joseph O' Connell


Prof. O'Connell is Professor Emeritus in the Study of Religion at St. Michael's College, University of Toronto. Since his Ph.D studies on 'Social Implications of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Movement' at Harvard University (USA) and Government Sanskrit College (Calcutta), he has researched, taught and published extensively on religion and society in India and Bangladesh, especially on Vaishnavas and Muslims in Bengal. He has edited or co-edited several volumes on Bengali studies and Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Prof. O'Connell passed away on 6 May 2012.