Assistant Professor
View CV
 Jessica Birkenholtz

Contact Information

3027 FLB
707 S. Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801

Research Interests

  • Hinduism
  • Women and religion
  • Himalayan religions

Research Description

Professor Birkenholtz’s areas of research include the comparative study of Hindu religious identity, practice, and literature from the medieval period to the present day, Hindu goddess traditions in Nepal and India, and gender and religion. She is currently working on a book manuscript, which is under contract with Oxford University Press, that examines the history and development of Nepal’s Svasthānī tradition, the widely read Svasthānī Vrata Kathā, and the role both goddess and text have played in Nepal’s historical construction as a Hindu state. She has also co-edited a volume (Routledge 2016) on religion and modernity in the Himalaya. Professor Birkenholtz is the Book Review editor for Himalaya, the journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies. 

Education

  • PhD University of Chicago, 2010
  • BA Vassar College, 1998

Selected Publications

Edited Books

Photo of publication
Birkenholtz, Jessica Vantine, and Megan Adamson Sijapati Religion and Modernity in the Himalayas Routledge Press 2016. Book Link.

Journal Articles

Seeking Svasthani: The Politics of Gender, Location, Iconography and Identity in Hindu Nepal Journal of Hindu Studies 6 2 2013, p. 198-227. Journal of Hindu Studies.
Review of Women in the Hindu Tradition Rules Roles and Exceptions by Mandakranta Bose Journal of Hindu Studies 5 1 2010.

Book Contributions

Birkenholtz, Jessica Vantine From Text to Internet, Aniconic to Statuesque: Modern Textual and Performative Innovations in a Nepali Goddess Tradition Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya From Text to Internet, Aniconic to Statuesque: Modern Textual and Performative Innovations in a Nepali Goddess Tradition Routledge Press 2016.

Books

The Goddess of Place and the Making of Hinduism in Nepal Oxford University Press (under contract) 2017.