Dr Kiyokazu Okita

Associate Professor of
Literature, Philosophy and Religion, Sophia University


Kiyokazu Okita is currently an assistant professor at Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University. He is also a research follow at the OCHS as well as a visiting faculty at the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions, University of Florida. He obtained his D.Phil. from the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford in 2011. His doctoral thesis focuses on Vaiṣṇava Vedānta in Early Modern North India. Based on his thesis, he published a monograph titled Hindu Theology in Early Modern South Asia (Oxford University Press, 2014).

After teaching at the Department of Religion, University of Florida (2010-2011), he was a JSPS postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Indological Studies, Kyoto University (2011-2013) as well as a visiting research fellow at the Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, University of Hamburg (2012-2013). Subsequently, he won a competitive research position at the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University (2013-2017).

In his current project God as Paramour: Ethic and Aesthetic in Early Modern South Asia, Kiyokazu examines a complex relation between devotion (bhakti), aesthetic delight (rasa) and ethics (dharma) in the Bengal Vaiṣṇava tradition.

Together with Dr Rembert Lutjeharms at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Dr Kiyokazu also leads an international collaborative research project The Gosvāmī Era: The Founding of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism in Early Modern South Asia.

Selected publications:

  • 2017, “Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern South Asia: The Case of Bengal” Vaiṣṇavism Hinduism Beyond the Renaissance: Vaishnavism in Colonial Bengal ed. by Lucian Wong and Ferdinando Sardella (Oxford: Routledge)
  • 2017, “Salvation through Colorful Emotions: Aesthetics, Colorimetry, and Theology in Early Modern South Asia”, Emotion and Materiality in the Context of Change ed. by Barbara Schuler (Brill).
  • 2016, “Quotation, Quarrel and Controversy in Early Modern South Asia: Appayya Dīkṣita and Jīva Gosvāmī on Madhva’s Untraceable Citations”, Adaptive Reuse in South Asian Literatures and Arts (tentative) ed. by Elisa Freschi and Philipp Maas, Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag), pp. 259-283.
  • 2016, “Ethic and Aesthetic in Early Modern South Asia: A Controversy surrounding the Bhāgavata Purāṇa Book X”, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Special Issue, Translating the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, ed. by Anand Mishra and Monika Horstmann.
  • 2016, “The Influence of Śiṅgabhūpāla II on Bengali Vaiṣṇava Aesthetics”, The Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies vol. 64, 2016, pp. 1081-1087.
  • 2014, Hindu Theology in Early Modern South Asia: The Rise of Devotionalism and the Politics of Genealogy (Oxford: Oxford University Press)