Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz is Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Asian Studies, and Religious Studies. She is a feminist scholar of religion who specializes in women, gender, and religion in Hinduism and South Asia more broadly. She has been doing research in Nepal since the early 2000s, where her work centers primarily on the construction and intersections of Hindu religious and gender ideologies, identity, and practice in and around the Kathmandu Valley. Her book, Reciting the Goddess: Narratives of Place and the Making of Hinduism in Nepal(Oxford University Press, 2018) earned the 2019 American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion. She is currently working on two projects. The first is an English translation of Nepal’s most sacred Hindu devotional text, the Svasthanivratakatha, which is supported by an NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant and under contract with Oxford University Press. Her second project presents an ethnographic, intersectional study of sexual and gender minorities in Nepal that uses religion as its primary lens and attends to the intersections of religion, secularism, ethnicity, and queerness in modern Nepal. Her work has been published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and the Journal of Hindu Studies, and she is co-editor of Religion and Modernity in the Himalaya (Routledge 2016).