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Sravana Borkataky-Varma


Instructional Assistant Professor
Comparative Cultural Studies
University of Houston

Research Associate, Transcendence & Transformation
Harvard University

Office: Old Science Building, Suite 216

Sravana Borkataky-Varma - Wikipedia

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Biographical Summary

Sravana Borkataky-Varma (Ph.D.) is a historian, educator, and social entrepreneur. As a historian, she studies Indian religions focusing on esoteric rituals, gender, and bodies particularly in Hindu Śākta traditions (Goddess Tantra). As an educator, she is the Instructional Assistant Professor at the University of Houston and a Research Associate at Harvard Divinity School. In the past, she has taught at Harvard University, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, the University of Montana, and Rice University.

As a social entrepreneur, she is the co-founder of a nonprofit, Lumen Tree Portal. Sravana invests in building communities with individuals from various faith backgrounds who believe in kindness, compassion, and fulfillment. She is a Board of Trustee member for Esalen Institute and serves as an Advisory Board member for Compassionate Houston.

Research Interests

Hindu Traditions, Gender and Women Studies, Tantra, Bodies


Books/Upcoming Books

  • Co-written, The Serpent’s Tale: Kuṇḍalinī and the History of an Experience, University of Columbia Press, forthcoming (2024).
  • Co-edited volume, Transforming the Classroom: Embodied Pedagogies in the Study of Religion, Routledge, forthcoming (2024).
  • Co-edited volume, Religious Responses to Pandemic & Crises: Isolation, Survival, and #Covidchaos, Routledge, forthcoming (2023).
  • Co-edited volume, Living Folk Religions, Routledge, forthcoming (2023).

Book Chapters in Peer-reviewed Edited Volumes

  • “From the Fringes to the Center Stage: Hijṛās and Fertility Rituals in Kāmākhyā,” in The Oxford Handbook of Tantric Studies, OUP (2023).
  • “WhatsApp Bagalāmukhī: Experiences Deemed Religious” The Ethnography of Tantra: Textures and Contexts of Living Tantric Traditions, SUNY, forthcoming (2023).
  • “The Yogic Body in Global Transmission,” in The Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies, Routledge (2021).
  • "Taming Hindu Śakta Tantra on the Internet: Online Pūjās for the Goddess Tripurasundarī,” in Digital Hinduism, Routledge (2020).

Special Journal Issue

  • Co-editor for the special issue Digital Tantra, International Journal of Hindu Studies (Springer Link), International Journal of Hindu Studies (2022) 26:155–159, (2022).

  • Editor for the special issue Out for Blood: Sacrifice, Tantra, and Normative Hinduism, International Journal of Hindu Studies (Springer Link), 21 June 2019, (2019).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • “The Dead Speak: A Case Study from the Tiwa Tribe Highlighting the Hybrid World of Śākta Tantra in Assam.” Religions 2017, 8, 221; doi:10.3390/rel8100221, (2018).
  • “Menstruation: Pollutant to Potent,” Encyclopedia of Indian Religions: Hinduism and Tribal Religions, ed. Arvind Sharma, Springer; 10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_481-1. (2015).
  • “The Ancient Elusive Serpent in Modern Times: The Practice of Kuṇḍalinī in Kāmākhyā,” International Journal of Dharma Studies; 0000-0002-8589-1871 (2015).
  • Book review of Steven Lindquist ed., Religion, and Identity in South Asia and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Patrick Olivelle, International Journal of Hindu Studies, 19 (3), (2015).
  • Book review of Jeaneane Fowler, Hinduism Beliefs & Practice: Major Deities and Social Structures, Vol. I, in Journal of Hindu Studies 8 (7), (2015). 
  • “Hinduism,” for accompanying website for Jeffrey J. Kripal, with Ata Anzali, Andrea Jain, and Erin Prophet, Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms, (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell), (2014). 
  • Book Review of Christopher Partridge, ed., Introduction to World Religions, in Religious Studies Review 40 (2), (2014).
  • Book Review of Jeffrey Brodd, Layne Little, Bradley Nystrom, Robert Platzner, Richard Shek and Erin Stiles, Invitation to World Religions, in Religious Studies Review 40 (2), (2014).



  • Introduction to Hinduism
  • Religion and Film
  • Society and Culture of India
  • Yoga and Philosophy
  • Global Hinduism
  • Selected Topics – History of Yoga: A Scholar-Practitioner Overview