Centre of Yoga Studies

Jens Augspurger

Key information

BA (Mannheim), MA (Tel Aviv), MRes (SOAS, London)
Thesis title
The Politics of Spiritual Tourism: Kinship Romanticism and Correspondence with Imagined Homeland (Working title)
Internal Supervisors
Professor Richard King


Jens Augspurger is a PhD candidate in Religious Studies and a doctoral fellow of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German Academic Foundation). His research interests are in the anthropology of religion with a particular focus on spiritual movements, the politics of spirituality, and intersections with political philosophy.

Prior to returning to SOAS for doctoral research, Jens completed his MRes in Politics for which he conducted qualitative fieldwork at the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) in Pondicherry. His work explored the perception that foreigners in Auroville and other communities had of India and how their distinct experience as travelling yogis informed their reflections on India and Indian-ness.

As a continuation of this work, Jens’ doctoral research explores the complex relationships and correspondences that spiritual tourists entertain with their destinations. Spiritual tourism often follows a trajectory of self-discovery which can be achieved through the interplay of the tourist, the journey, and the destination. Particular focus will be laid on discourses of identity, extraordinariness (‘Außeralltäglichkeit’), and authenticity to understand the associations the
spiritual tourist builds along their journey.

In 2019 and 2020 he has been a visiting lecturer (Lehrbeauftragter) at the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute of Cultural Studies of East and South Asia. As a trained mediator, he regularly teaches workshops in conflict communication and negotiation for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Research interests

  • Spiritual tourism
  • Politics of spirituality
  • Anthropology of religion
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Belonging
  • Kinstate relations
  • Neo-nationalism


Contact Jens