SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Dr Daniela Bevilacqua

  • Teaching
  • Publications


Bevilacqua Daniela - SA IMG - 240, 186, 56
South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Research Associate

Centre of Yoga Studies


Dr Daniela Bevilacqua
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Daniela Bevilacqua is an Indianist who uses ethnographic and historical methodologies to dig into religious issues of Indian culture. In 2006 she graduated in Oriental Languages from the University of Rome, Sapienza, presenting the thesis Nityasumangali, the ritual and propitiatory role of the Devadasi. In 2009 she completed her MD, specializing in Modern and Contemporary Indian History. Her thesis, Rāmjanmabhūmi: Myth, Religion, History and Politics, analysed historically the origin and development of the Rāmjanmabhūmi issue. Building on this work, she decided to focus on the Rām bhakti and especially on the Rāmānandī sampradāya for her PhD. She received her doctorate in 2015 in “Civilizations, Cultures and Societies of Asia and Africa”, supervised by Professor Mario Prayer at University of Rome, Sapienza, and a doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Paris X Nanterre Ouest La Défense, supervised by Professor Véronique Bouillier. Her work, based on a multidisciplinary approach, was entitled A Past for the Present: The Role of the Śrī Maṭh and the Jagadgurū in the Evolution of the Rāmānandī Sampradāya.  Through this work, she came to know Dr Mallinson, who asked her to join the Hatha Yoga Project team due to her ethnographic work among ascetics. Her role in the project is to collect, through fieldwork, historical evidence of yoga practice and ethnographic data among living ascetic practitioners of yoga.



Authored Books

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2018) Modern Hindu Traditionalism in Contemporary India: The Śrī Maṭh and the Jagadguru Rāmānandācārya in the Evolution of the Ramanandi Sampradaya. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2016) Devadasi. Serva del dio al servizio degli uomini. Armillaria.


Bevilacqua, Daniela (2018) 'Changing the narration, adjusting the order: The independence of the Rāmānandī sampradāya and the bestowing of the title of Jagadguru Rāmānandācārya'. Rivista degli Studi Orientali (Nuova Serie), (XCI) 2, pp 13-26.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2018) 'Old Tool for New Times: The Discovery of an Ancient Holy Site in Contemporary India'. Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions, (20) 2018, pp 45-66.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2018) 'Let the Sādhus Talk. Ascetic understanding of Haṭha Yoga and yogāsanas'. Religions of South Asia, (11) 2, pp 182-206.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2017) 'Are women entitled to become ascetics? An historical and ethnographic glimpse on female asceticism in Hindu religions'. Kervan International Journal of Afro-Asiatic Studies 21, pp 51-79.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2015) 'Film review: “Flowers From the Mount of Olives” (Olimäe Oied). Directed by Heilika Pikkov, 70 min/ 2013'. Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia, (3) 1, pp 95.

Book Chapters

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2020) 'Globalization and Asceticism: Foreign Ascetics on the Threshold of Hindu Religious Orders'. In: Cornelio, Jayeel and Gauthier, François and Martikainen, Tuomas and Woodhead, Linda, (eds.), Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society. Routledge.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2017) 'Evolution of Tradition in the Ramanandi Order. Among Hagiographies, Jagadguru and Maṭh'. In: Palmisano, Stefania and Pannofino, Nicola, (eds.), Invention of Tradition and Syncretism in Contemporary Religions: Sacred Creativity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 69-89.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2016) 'Tra Tradizione e Modernità: Una Prospettiva Storica Sull’Ascetismo Femminile Hindu'. In: Palmisano, Stefania and Giorgi, Alberta, (eds.), D come Donne D come Dio. Sesto San Giovanni, Milan: Mimesis Edizioni.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2016) 'Do Not Ask About Caste If You Love God You Belong to God: Ramanandi Sampradaya and Its Relation with Caste – A Historical and Anthropological Overview'. In: Bindi, Serena and Mucciarelli, Elena and Pontillo, Tiziana, (eds.), Cross-Cutting South Asian Studies, An Interdisciplinary Approach. New Delhi: DK Printworld, pp 80-115.

Book Reviews

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2018) 'Review of: The History of Janakpurdham. A Study of Asceticism and the Hindu Polity, by Richard Burghart. Kathmandu: Himal Books, 2016'. Himalaya: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies. [Forthcoming]

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2018) 'Review of: Everyday Creativity. Singing Goddesses in the Himalayan Foothills by Kirin Narayan. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2016'.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2015) 'Review of: Varieties of Secularism in Asia, Anthroplogical explorations of religion, politics and the spiritual, edited by Nils Bubandt and Martijn van Beek, Routledge, 2014'. Contemporary South Asia, (23) 2, pp 227-228.


Bevilacqua, Daniela (2018) 'Rāmānandī Sampradāya'.

Bevilacqua, Daniela (2013) 'Film review: “Sex, Death and the Gods”. Directed by Beedan Kidron. Col. 75 mns. BBC, 2011' Journal of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia, 1.


This list was last generated on Sunday, 2nd October 2022, 11:23 Europe/London.