Education and Background
B.A. and M.A. (Laurea) in Political Science and International Affairs, University of Milan, Italy
M.A. in Comparative and International Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
My scholarly expertise is in the religions of South Asia, with a focus on medieval Hindu Tantra. I received my Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. With fellowships from the American Institute of Indian Studies and the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute, I conducted doctoral research in Oxford, Hamburg, and India (Kolkata and Pondicherry). Before I enrolled in the graduate program at Penn, my training included graduate studies in the social sciences at Columbia, focused on the Indian subcontinent and covering modern history, anthropology, human rights, and social justice, as well as work experience in human rights at the United Nations.
Interests and Current Research
My main area of research interest concerns the medieval tantric, or "esoteric," Hindu traditions, in particular the exegetical tradition that flourished in Kashmir between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries. My approach is multidisciplinary, combining philosophical and historical perspectives with philological and comparative methods. In my book manuscript, "Grace in Degrees: Śaktipāta, Devotion, and Religious Authority in the Śaivism Abhinavagupta," I analyze conceptions of grace and devotion in the oeuvre of the Kashmiri polymath Abhinavagupta (fl. ca. 1000 ce), and in the broader context of his tradition, Tantric Śaivism. Additional areas of interest include the Yoga traditions of South Asia and Hindu devotional traditions.
My teaching interests fall into three main categories:
Introductory courses, including world religions and Asian religions; survey courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Indian philosophy; and theories and methods in the study of religion.
Thematic courses, such as the history and practices of Yoga in South Asia, Tantric or “esoteric” traditions of Asia, and Hindu devotional traditions.
Cross-disciplinary courses, which engage the study of religion with issues such as gender, ethics, human rights, and violence.
In my classes I engage students via a combination of lectures, in-class discussion, visual materials, peer presentations, and online forums. I am a recipient of the Dean’s Teaching Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students at the University of Pennsylvania.
At Swarthmore College
- Indian Religion and Philosophy
- Yoga in History, Philosophy, and Practice
At Other Academic Institutions
- Introduction to Indian Philosophy (University of Pennsylvania)
- Themes in Indian Philosophy: Yoga and Tantra (University of Pennsylvania)
- Women and Religion (University of Pennsylvania)
- Buddhist Thought and Culture (Seton Hall University)