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Appointments 2004-5

Savita Vij, OCHS
Savita Vij, OCHS

Hilary Term (Jan - Mar 05)

Shivdasani Visiting Fellow

K. Maheswaran Nair hails from Kerala (Southern India) and is currently Professor, Department of Sanskrit, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. He is also Hon. Director of the Centre for Vedanta Studies of the University of Kerala. Previously he worked at Govt. Sanskrit College, Thiruvananthapuram and Thrippunithura, and also as Editor of the Dept. of Cultural Publications, Kerala. He has been teaching Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy for over three decades. His areas of research include: dialectics in Vedanta and materialism, Patanjali's Yogasutra, the renaissance movement in Kerala, manuscript studies etc. He has published a number of articles and authored a number of books in Sanskrit, Malayalam, and English which include: Advaitasiddhi: A Critical study, Advaitavedanta Dialectics and Indian Philosophy, Manuscriptology, Chattambiswamikal:Jivithavum Krithikalum etc. He has also edited a number of books. He obtained his Ph.D. in Sanskrit from the University of Kerala and also holds a Masters Degree in Russian.

Michaelmas Term (Oct-Dec 04)

Tamal Krishna Goswami Visiting Fellow

Vasudha Narayanan is a Professor of Religion at the University of Florida and a past President of the American Academy of Religion (2001-2002). She was educated at the Universities of Madras and Bombay in India, and at Harvard University. Her fields of interest are the Sri Vaishnava tradition; Hindu traditions in India, Cambodia, America; Hinduism and the environment; and gender issues. She is the author and editor of six books and over ninety articles, chapters, and encyclopedia entries.
Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from several organizations including: the National Endowment for the Humanities (1987, 1989-90, and 1998-99), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1991-92), the Smithsonian, the American Institute for Indian Studies, and the Social Science Research Council. She was the president of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies from 1996-1998.
Her books The Hindu Traditions: An Introduction, and The Hindu Traditions in the United States: Temple Space, Domestic Space, and Cyberspace will be published in 2005. She is currently working on Hindu temples and Vaishnava traditions in Cambodia and her research is being funded by the American Council of Learned Societies (2004-2005). Previous publications include: The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation, and Ritual (1994); The Way and the Goal: Expressions of Devotion in the Early Srivaisnava Tradition (1987); (with John Carman) The Tamil Veda: Pillan's Interpretation of the Tiruvaymoli (1989); The Hindu Tradition in World Religions: Eastern Traditions, edited by Willard Oxtoby (1996; rev. 2001); "One Tree is Equal to Ten Sons: Some Hindu Responses to the Problems of Ecology, Population and Consumption" in Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 65/2 (June 1997); "Brimming with Bhakti, Embodiments of Sakti: Deities, Devotees, Performers, Reformers and other Women of Power in the Hindu tradition" in Feminism in World Religions, edited by Katherine Young (1998), 25-77; "Water, Wood, and Wisdom: Ecological Perspectives from the Hindu Traditions" Daedalus, 130/4 (Fall 2001); "Vaishnava Traditions in Cambodia" in Festschrift for Dennis Hudson, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 1/1 (September 2002); and her 2002 American Academy of Religion presidential address, "Embodied Cosmologies: Sights of Piety, Sites of Power" in Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 71/3 (Fall 2003).

Shivdasani Visiting Fellow

Vasantha Rangachar is a Professor and currently the Chairperson of the department of History at Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Anantapur, and Andhra Pradesh. Having taught Indological studies for twenty-five years, she has also developed an Art & archaeological and a folk art museum at Sri Krishnadevaraya University. Her Ph.D. work "The Narayanasvami Temple at Melkote - a historical and archaeological study" (Government of Karnataka, 1992) has been acclaimed internationally as of very high standard. She authored books which include Folk Art and Culture (Government of India, HRD, New Delhi, 1996); PENUGONDA FORT - A Defense capital of the Vijayanagara Empire - History, Art and Culture, (Sharada Publishing House, Delhi, 1999); NAVA-NARASIMHA TEMPLES AT AHOBILAM (Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams, Tirupathi, 2000); Symmetry and Proportion in Indian Vastu & Silpa, (D K Publishers 2004); Islamic Architecture of Deccan, (Sharada Publishing House 2004). She was the recipient of DAAD and CWIT fellowships.
Her area of interest extends to Indian board games and chess. She has demonstrated in her research and talks that games and the playing of games are not at all simple objects of amusement but phenomena of high significance for cultural, political, and even religious history. Her recent paper, "Deciphering the board games invented by the Raja of Mysore", unravels many puzzles, tricks and number patterns, which have tested the intellect of mathematicians for thousand of years. Her major scholarly research at present is the translation and critical edition of 'Caturanga Sarasarvasvam', encyclopedic manuscript on the Indian games by the King of Mysore, Krishanaraja Wodeyar III. She has also carried out important field work in researching games played in contemporary society, and has made a great number of important discoveries.

Junior Research Fellowship Awarded 2004

Jessica Frazier
B.A. (Hons) in Theology and Religious Studies (Part I Sanskrit), University of Cambridge (1998).
M.St in the Study of Religions, University of Oxford (1999)
Currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, on Models of Belief: Realism in Hans-Georg Gadamer's Hermeneutics and Rupa Gosvami's Devotional Philosophy. This thesis offers an alternative model of religious realism, defining the ontological nature of reality and its intrinsic relation to our experiences of value.
Wider research interests include truth and value in continental philosophy, the nature of religious belief, Indian metaphysics. Ongoing projects include an international programme of first-hand research into the nature of religious belief, a database of religion in film, and research into the history of the idea of 'spirituality'.

Post Doctoral Fellowships Awarded 2004

Kenneth Valpey
B.A. (Hons) in Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA, 1996.
M.A., 'The Cultural and Historical Study of Religion', Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, USA, 1998.
M.St in the Study of Religion, Oxford University, 2000.
D.Phil, Oxford University, offering a dissertation on Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami's Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2004.
Savita Vij
Joined OCHS Research team pioneering the Hindu Youth Survey with Romila Santosh in 2001. She completed her Ph.d thesis; 'The Politicisation of Hindu Identities in a University Context', in 2003, in the Sociology and Cultural Studies department, Birmingham University.
Her academic interest in work on young Hindus has progressed from her undergraduate years at Royal Holloway University through her B.A. honours in Sociology with Social Policy received in 1999. In relation to the recent findings of both her thesis and the Hindu Youth Survey, she hopes to take part in a further project to pursue work around the second- and third-generation Hindus in multicultural Britain; their needs, aspirations, and identities.