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Department of the Study of Religions

Department Structure

Head of Department
Dr Cosimo Zene

Deputy Head of Department 

Dr Theodore Proferes

Undergraduate Tutor, BA Programme Convenor

Dr Jan-Peter Hartung

Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

Dr Sarah Stewart

MA Convenor, MA Dissertations Coordinator

Dr Lucia Dolce 

PGT Admissions Tutor 
Dr Lucia Dolce 

Research Tutor 

Dr Peter Flügel

Research Admissions Tutor

Dr Erica Hunter

Departmental Research Centre Chairs:

Centre for Buddhist Studies: Dr Vincent Tournier
Centre for Eastern and Orthodox Christianity: Dr Erica Hunter
Centre for Jaina Studies: Dr Peter Flügel
Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions: Dr Lucia Dolce

Lucia Dolce
Numata Reader in Japanese Buddhism
Lucia Dolce Japanese religious history, especially the medieval period; Japanese Tantric Buddhism and the esotericisation of religious practice; Millenarian writings and prophecy; Kami-Buddhas associations
  • Tel: 020 7898 4217
  • Email: ld16@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 342
  • Office Hours: Term 1 - Wednesdays 3-4pm
Peter Flügel
Reader in the Study of Religions
Peter Flügel

Jaina Studies; South Asian History & Culture; Anthropology & Sociology of Religion

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4776
  • Email: pf8@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 341
  • Office Hours: Mondays 3-4pm

Jan-Peter Hartung
Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam
Staff Silhouette

Intellectual History of Islam with special reference to South Asia and the wider Persianate World, Political Islam, later Islamic Philosophy and Theology.

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4383
  • Email: Jh74@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 333
  • Office Hours: Wednesdays 12:30-2:30pm
Jörg Haustein
Lecturer in Religions in Africa
Jörg Haustein

Pentecostalism in Ethiopia, Pentecostalism in Africa and worldwide, Christian missions in Africa, Islam in East Africa, colonialism and religions in Africa.


Sian Hawthorne
Lecturer in Critical Theory and the Study of Religions
Sian Hawthorne

Narrativity; Cultural Memory; Religion and Gender; Feminist Historiography; Postcolonial theory; Postsecularism and gender; Intellectual history in the study of religions.

  • Tel: 020 7898 4215
  • Email: sh79@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 337
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 10am-12pm (during term time)
Catherine Hezser
Professor of Jewish Studies
Catherine Hezser

Judaism in Hellenistic and Roman times; rabbinic literature; social history of Jews in late antiquity; American Jewish history and literature, Jewish identity, gender studies


Almut Hintze
Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism
Almut Hintze

Dr Hintze takes an interest in all aspects of Zoroastrianism, the religion of pre-Islamic Iran.

  • Tel: 020 7898 4598
  • Email: ah69@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 334
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 12-1pm (and by Appointment)
Erica Hunter
Senior Lecturer in Eastern Christianity
Erica Hunter

Eastern Christianity; Syriac Christianity in the Middle East, with particular reference to Iraq; Syriac Christianity in medieval Central Asia and China

  • Tel: 020 7898 4663
  • Email: eh9@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 339
  • Office Hours: By Email Appointment

Ulrich Pagel
Reader, Languages and Religions of Tibet and Central Asia
Ulrich Pagel

History of Buddhism in Tibet, Mahāyāna Buddhism, Kanjur Studies, Vinaya, Religions of Central Asia, Tibetan, Sanskrit. 

  • Tel: 020 7898 4782
  • Email: up1@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: Room 338
  • Office Hours: Term 2 - Mondays 3-5pm
Antonello Palumbo
Lecturer in Chinese Religions
Staff Silhouette

Ideological history of pre-modern China; Chinese religions, notably Taoism and Buddhism; history of the Buddhist canon in China; Manichaeism and Iranian influences in medieval China; Chinese cultural relations with Central Asia

  • Tel: 020 7898 4768
  • Email: ap47@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 345
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 10am-12pm

Theodore Proferes
Senior Lecturer in Ancient Indian Religions
Theodore Proferes
  • Tel: 020 7898 4637
  • Email: tp17@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 378
  • Office Hours: Term 2 - Thursdays 3-5pm
Sarah Stewart
Lecturer in Zoroastrianism
Sarah Stewart

Lecturer in Zoroastrianism, with particular reference to the living tradition in Iran and India. Convenor: Islam in Britain.

  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4270
  • Email: ss7@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 331
  • Office Hours: Thursdays 12-1pm

Vincent Tournier
Seiyu Kiriyama Lecturer in Buddhist Studies
Vincent Tournier

Buddhism in Ancient and Early Medieval South Asia

  • Tel: 020 7898 4753
  • Email: vt6@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 343
  • Office Hours: Thursdays 11am-1pm
Cosimo Zene
Reader in the Study of Religions
Cosimo Zene

Anthropology of religion, theory in the study of religions, continental philosophy, Gramsci and religion, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, minorities (Dalits), mysticism and heresy, non-Western Christianities, Mediterranean anthropology; South-Asia (India, Bangladesh), Sardinia.

  • Tel: 020 7898 4783
  • Email: zc@soas.ac.uk
  • Room: 340
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 2.30-4pm or by email appointment

Teaching Fellows


Christopher Daily
Post Doctoral Research Fellow in Chinese Religions
Staff Silhouette
Graham Burns
Graham Burns

A survey of the ways in which ideas of ultimate reality changed and developed in the Upanisads.


Mark Faulkner
Senior Teaching Fellow
Mark Faulkner

Religions of Africa


Tullio Lobetti
Senior Teaching Fellow
Tullio Lobetti

Philosophy, particularly Philosophy of Religion; Theology; Japanese Religions.

Benedetta Lomi
Senior Teaching Fellow
Benedetta Lomi

Mikael Oez
Lecturer in Eastern Christianity
Mikael Oez


Post-Doctoral Fellows

Edward Garrett
Research Assistant, Tibetan in Digital Communication
Edward Garrett
Leon Goldman
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Staff Silhouette

Kornelius Krümpelmann
Research Assistant, Leverhulme Project
Staff Silhouette
Tatsuma Padoan
Newton Post-Doctoral Fellow
Tatsuma Padoan

Japanese religions; pilgrimage studies; ritual enunciation, religious materiality and spirit possession; design practices and politics of urban space; generative semiotics, linguistic anthropology and actor-network-theory.


Visiting Professors

Nicholas Sims-Williams
Research Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies
Nicholas Sims-Williams Iranian and Central Asian philology; Christian and Manichaean texts from Central Asia.
T H Barrett
Research Professor of East Asian History
T H Barrett History of Chinese religion, notably Taoism and Buddhism; pre-modern Chinese history, especially the Tang period

Research Associates

Jonardon Ganeri
Professorial Research Associate
Jonardon Ganeri
John Hinnells
Professorial Research Associate
Staff Silhouette

Ursula King
Professorial Research Associate
Staff Silhouette
D Seyfort Ruegg
Professorial Research Associate
D Seyfort Ruegg

The philosophy of the buddha-nature (tathagatagarbha) and the philosophy of the middle way


Lamin Sanneh
Professorial Research Associate
Staff Silhouette
Karel Werner
Professorial Research Associate
Staff Silhouette

Johannes Bronkhorst
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette
Claudio Caniglia
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette

Matthew Clark
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette
J F Coakley
Research Assistant, AHRC Project
Staff Silhouette

François de Blois
Research Associate
François de Blois

François de Blois has published extensively on Iranian and Semitic languages and literatures, as well as on the social and religious history of the Near East and Central Asia in pre-modern times. His books include "Persian literature, a bio-bibliographical survey. Volume V: Poetry of the pre-Mongol period", second, revised edition, 2004.

Ven Khammai Dhammasami
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette

Yangdon Dhondup
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette
Sean Gaffney
Research Associate
Sean Gaffney

Samuel Lieu
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette
Andrew Skilton
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette

David Smith
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette
Jane Soothill
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette

Simon Weightman
Research Associate
Staff Silhouette Modern Bengali literature; Bengali culture
Jan Christoph Westerhoff
Research Associate
Jan Westerhoff

Emeritus Staff

Humphrey Fisher
Emeritus Reader
Staff Silhouette
Paul Gifford
Emeritus Professor
Paul Gifford Christianity; recent developments in African Christianity; the socio-political role of religion in Africa Socio-political role of Christianity in Africa; Africa's new charismatic churches

Tadeusz Skorupski
Emeritus Reader
Staff Silhouette Buddhist Studies; philosophical and religious doctrines; literature; iconography Buddhist iconography; Buddhist rituals; Buddhist doctrines; Buddhist history