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.
- “Spirit has left: On the De-Polarization of East and West". 10th Conference of the Young Scholars Group of the German Association for Asian Studies (DGA); Asia in Times of Crises and Polarization: Challenges, Processes, and Solutions (May 07/08/15, 2021): ONLINE conference
- "Interviewing Spiritual Tourists". Qualitative Social Research Workshop (April 16/17, 2021): Studienstiftung des Dt. Volkes, ONLINE conference; Co-organised with Marc Bubeck
- “Discourses on Belonging: Western Yoga Practitioners in India“. 17th Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) (June 25-29, 2019): University of Tartu, ESTONIA
- “Yoga-inflected encounters between East and West”. Doctoral Conference on Migration, Mobility, and Borders (March 23, 2019): SOAS University of London, UK
- “Discourses on Belonging: Spiritual Soft Powers of Kabbalah”. European Association of Israel Studies Annual Graduate Workshop (March 17, 2019): SOAS University of London, UK
- “Yoga Journeys and the Imagination of India”. Yoga, Movement, and Space Conference (November 02-03, 2018): Doshisha University, Kyoto, JAPAN.
- Association for Jewish Studies (AJS)
- British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS)
- British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR)
- Deutsche Morgenlaendische Gesellschaft (DMG)
- European Association of Israel Studies (EAIS)
- German Association for Asian Studies (DGA)
- Student Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI)