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Daniela Bevilacqua is a South-Asianist specialised in Hindu ascetic traditions, investigated through an ethnographic and historical perspective. She received her PhD in Civilizations of Africa and Asia from Sapienza University of Rome and in Anthropology from the University of Paris Nanterre. Her PhD research was published by Routledge under the title "Modern Hindu Traditionalism in Contemporary India: The Sri Math and the Jagadguru Ramanandacarya in the Evolution of the Ramanandi Sampradaya". She worked as a post-doc research fellow at SOAS, for the ERC- funded Hatha Yoga Project (2015-2020). During the years of the Hatha Yoga Project she engaged in long fieldwork researches collecting data about the physical yogic practices of current ascetic practitioners. This resulted in several articles on asceticism and a monograph which is going to be published in 2024 by Equinox, "From Tapas to Modern Yoga". She is currently a research associate at CRIA-Iscte - (Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia).
Identification

Personal identification

Full name
Daniela Bevilacqua

Citation names

  • Bevilacqua, Daniela

Author identifiers

Ciência ID
681D-41F1-6F27
ORCID iD
0000-0002-0526-8140

Email addresses

  • db28@soas.ac.uk (Professional)
  • daniela.bevilacqua@iscte-iul.pt (Professional)

Knowledge fields

  • Social Sciences - Other Social Sciences - Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary
  • Social Sciences - Sociology - Anthropology
  • Humanities - Philosophy, Ethics and Religion - Religious Studies

Languages

Language Speaking Reading Writing Listening Peer-review
Italian (Mother tongue)
English Advanced (C1) Proficiency (C2) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1)
Hindi Upper intermediate (B2) Upper intermediate (B2) Elementary (A2) Upper intermediate (B2) Elementary (A2)
French Elementary (A2) Upper intermediate (B2) Beginner (A1) Intermediate (B1) Elementary (A2)
Spanish; Castilian Beginner (A1) Elementary (A2) Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1)
Education
Degree Classification
2010/12 - 2015/04/29
Concluded
Dottorato in CIVILTÀ DELL’ASIA E DELL’AFRICA (Dottorato di Ricerca)
Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy
"A Past for the Present: The Role of the Sri Math and the Jagadguru in the Evolution of the Ramanandi Sampradaya" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
2010/12 - 2015/03/29
Concluded
Maison René-Ginouvès, Archéologie et Ethnologie (Docteur)
Université Paris-Nanterre, France
"A Past for the Present: The Role of the Sri Math and the Jagadguru in the Evolution of the Ramanandi Sampradaya" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
Très honorable
2007 - 2009/12
Concluded
Dipartimento Studi Orientali (Laurea Specialistica)
Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy
"Il movimento Ramjanmabhumi" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
110/110 cum laude
2002/10 - 2005/12
Concluded
Dipartimento Studi Orientali (Laurea)
Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy
"Nityasumangali, the ritual and propitious role of Devadasis" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
110/110 cum laude
Affiliation

Science

Category
Host institution
Employer
2023/04/01 - 2029/03/29 Researcher (Research) Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, Portugal
Instituto de Telecomunicações ISCTE-IUL, Portugal

Positions / Appointments

Category
Host institution
Employer
2021/02/10 - 2021/05 Term-contract Lecturer Università degli Studi di Torino Dipartimento di Culture Politica e Societa, Italy

Others

Category
Host institution
Employer
2020/09 - 2022 Research Associate SOAS University of London, United Kingdom
Projects

Grant

Designation Funders
2015/10 - 2020/09 The Hatha Yoga Project: Mapping Indian and Transnational Traditions of Physical Yoga through Philology and Ethnography
info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/647963/EU
Post-doc
SOAS University of London, United Kingdom
European Commission
Concluded

Contract

Designation Funders
2023/04/01 - 2029/03/29 Performing the Sacred: Ethnographies of Transgender Activism in the Kinnar Akhara
2022.03515.CEECIND
Principal investigator
Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, Portugal
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Ongoing
Outputs

Publications

Book
  1. Bevilacqua, Daniela. From Tapas to Modern Yoga: Sadhus' Understanding of Embodied Practices. United Kingdom: Equinox Publisher. 2024.
    In press
  2. Bevilacqua, Daniela. Modern Hindu Traditionalism. Routledge. 2018.
    Published
Book chapter
  1. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Towards a Nath Re-appropriation of Hatha-Yoga". In The Power of the Nath Yogis: Yogic Charisma, Political Influence and Social Authority. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press, 2022.
    Accepted
  2. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Observing Yoga: The Use of Ethnographic Methodologies to Develop Yoga Studies". In Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies, edited by Karen O’Brien Cop; Suzanne Newcombe, 393-408. United Kingdom: Routledge, 2020.
    Published
  3. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Globalization and Asceticism: Foreign Ascetics on the Threshold of Hindu Religious Orders". In Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society, edited by J. S. Cornelio; F. Gautier, 199-211. Routledge, 2020.
    Published
  4. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Evolution of Tradition in the Ramanandi Order. Among Hagiographies, Jagadguru and Math". In Invention of Tradition and Syncretism in Contemporary Religions: Sacred Creativity, edited by Stefania Palmisano; Nicola Pannofino, 69-89. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
    Published
  5. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Do Not Ask About Caste If You Love God You Belong to God: The Ramanandi Sampradaya and Its Relation with Caste – A Historical and Anthropological Overview". In Cross-Cutting South Asian Studies, An Interdisciplinary Approach, edited by Serena Bindi; Elena Mucciarelli; Tiziana Pontillo, 80-115. New Delhi, India: DK Printworld, 2016.
    Published
  6. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Tra Tradizione e Modernità: Una Prospettiva Storica Sull'Ascetismo Femminile Hindu". In D come Donne D come Dio, edited by Stefania Palmisano; A. Giorgi, 155-168. Milano, Italy: Mimesis Edizioni, 2016.
    Published
Book review
  1. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Richard Burghart 2015". Review of Richard Burghart. The History of Janakpurdham. A Study of Asceticism and the Hindu Polity (2020): 108-111.
    Published
  2. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Patton Burchett 2019". Review of A Genealogy of Devotion, Bhakti, Tantra, Yoga, and Sufism in North India 188, (2019): 289-291.
    Published
  3. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "K. Narayan, 2016.". Review of Everyday Creativity. Singing Goddesses in the Himalayan Foothills (2018): https://newbooks.asia/review/everyday-creativity.
    Published
  4. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Nils Bubandt and Martijn van Beek 2015". Review of Varieties of Secularism in Asia, Anthropological explorations of religion, politics and the spiritual 23, 2 (2015): 227-228.
    Published
  5. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Film review: Sex, Death and the Gods. Directed by Beedan Kidron". 1, (2013):
    Published
Edited book
  1. Bevilacqua, Daniela. The Power of the Nath Yogis: Yogic Charisma, Political Influence and Social Authority. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press. 2021.
    Accepted • Editor
Encyclopedia entry
  1. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Ascetic and Yogis. A plurality of affiliations, of social strategies, of life choice. Yoga and Dharma, confrontations and negotiations’". In The World of Yoga. History, Mutations, Modernity of A Wisdom, edited by Ysé Masqulier. Les Editions Albin Michel, 2021.
    Accepted
  2. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Sadhus in contemporary India: Practices and Testimonies’". In The World of Yoga. History, Mutations, Modernity of A Wisdom, edited by Ysé Masqulier. Les Editions Albin Michel, 2021.
    Accepted
  3. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Female ascetic and physical yoga practices’". In The World of Yoga. History, Mutations, Modernity of A Wisdom, edited by Ysé Masqulier. Les Editions Albin Michel, 2021.
    Published
  4. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "A general overview on the use of cannabis among ascetics". In The World of Yoga. History, Mutations, Modernity of A Wisdom, edited by Ysé Masqulier. Les Editions Albin Michel, 2021.
    Accepted
  5. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Ramanandis". In Oxford Bibliography. Oxford Bibliographies, 2017. http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195399318/obo-9780195399318-0197.xml.
    Published
Journal article
  1. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "The religious transfeminism of the Kinnar Akha¿a". Feminist Encounters (2024):
    Under revision
  2. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "From the Margins to Demigod: The Establishment of the Kinnar Akhara in India". Asian Ethnology 81 1/2 (2022): 53-82.
    Published
  3. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "The Life of Ramanandi Centres in Varanasi". Religions of South Asia 13 2 (2021): 130-159.
    Published
  4. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Changing the narration, adjusting the order: The independence of the Ramanandi sampradaya and the bestowing of the title of Jagadguru Ramanandacarya". Rivista degli Studi Orientali XCI 2 (2018): 13-26.
    Published
  5. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "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): 45-66.
    Published
  6. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Let the Sadhus Talk. Ascetic understanding of Hatha Yoga and yogasanas". Religions of South Asia 11 2 (2017): 182-206.
    Published
  7. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "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 (2017): 51-79.
    Published
Journal issue
  1. Bevilacqua, Daniela; Mark Singleton. "Yoga and the Traditional Physical Practices of South Asia: Influence, Entanglement and Confrontation". Journal of Yoga Studies 4 2023 (2023): https://journalofyogastudies.org/index.php/JoYS/issue/view/2023.V4.
    Published • Editor
  2. Bevilacqua, Daniela. "Introduction". Journal of Yoga Studies 4 (2023):
    Published

Artistic / Performance

Curatorial / Museum exhibition
  1. 2020. "Embodied Liberation, The Textual, Ethnographic and Historical Research of the Hatha Yoga Project. Brunei Gallery, London, UK".
Activities

Oral presentation

Presentation title Event name
Host (Event location)
2023/11/27 From hippies to Hindu spiritual leaders: The rising career of foreigners in Hindu traditional orders WebiNAR 11
Núcleo de Antropologia da Religião_NAR_CRIA (Lisbon, Portugal)
2023/05/26 Seminar: "The Ramjanmabhumi movement and its consequences"
University of Turin (Turin, Italy)
2023/03/02 Seminar: "Third gender in India", Kinnar and Hijra
University of Turin (Turin, Italy)
2021/07/26 When Gender Breaks Tradition: The Kinnar Akhara. Dynamics of Female Agency in Religious Settings in South Asia ECSAS 2021
University of Vienna (Austria)
2020/08 Hijras or Kinnars? Breaking Stereotypes to Conquer Social Status Female Religious Leaders and Dynamics of Female Agency in Religious Settings in South Asia
Cultural and Religious History of South Asia Department South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University (Heidelberg, Germany)
2019/10/18 Towards a Nath re-appropriation of hatha-yoga Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (WCAAS)
El Colegio de México (Mexico City, Mexico)
2019/09/06 Lecture: Lo Yoga visto e praticato dai Sadhu Master in Yoga Studies
Università Ca’ Foscari (Milano, Italy)
2019/07/01 Lecture: Yoga practices of Hindu traditional ascetic sampradayas Yoga Studies Summer School
SOAS (London, United Kingdom)
2019/06/01 Lecture: Observing Yoga: The use of ethnography to develop yoga studies Yoga Studies Summer School
SOAS (London, United Kingdom)
2019/05/20 Lecture: Tra Ashrams e Mela, o del condurre lavoro etnografico tra i sadhu in India
Università degli Studi di Torino (Torino, Italy)
2019/04/30 Lecture: Yoga physical practices and female asceticism in India, a historical and ethnographic overview Course: Yoga and Gender Study
SOAS University of London (London, United Kingdom)
2019/04/08 Lecture: Fieldwork among Hindu ascetics: dealing with the rules and practices of a male dominating tradition
Department of Asian Studies, Haifa University (Haifa, Israel)
2019/04 Can women get moksha through asceticism? Ethnographic hints from the sadhus world BASAS Conference
(Durham, Ireland)
2019/03/25 Lecture: Among Asrams and Melas, In Search of Sadhus and Yogic practices in India
Faculty of Arts, Charles University (Praga, Czech Republic)
2019/03/05 Lecture: Introduction to Hindu traditional ascetic sampradayas through yoga practices: an ethnographic approach Indian Religions Seminar
Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
2019/03/02 La donna come pati-vrata (devota al marito) e il difficile cammino verso una pratica ascetica individuale III Seminario su Donne e Religioni nel Mondo Contemporaneo
(Lanuvio, Italy)
2018/12/09 Lecture: Simbologie Ascetiche. Quando l’abito fa il Sadhu Simbologia del Vestire Course
Faculty of Letters and Philosophy Sapienza University of Rome (Roma, Italy)
2018/11 The Ethnographic side of the Hatha Yoga Project: Learning from the practice and knowledge of Indian Traditional Ascetic practitioners American Academy of Religious
(Denver, United States)
2018/09/09 Lecture: Let the sadhus talk. Lo yoga e l'hatha yoga spiegato e praticato dagli asceti tradizionali hindu Master in Yoga Studies
Ca'Foscari University (Milano, Italy)
2018/09 The Self and the Body of the Hindu Ascetic Yogi Association of Social Anthropologist
(Oxford, United Kingdom)
2018/09 Crossing Multifarious Realms by Forcing the Body: The Strenuous Austerities of Indian Ascetics British Association for the Study of Religion
(Belfast, United Kingdom)
2018/07 The Ascetic Self: Yogi Brahmananda Giri and the Construction of a Contemporary hagiography European Conference on South Asian Studies
(Paris, France)
2017/10/10 Yoga Among Indian Sadhus: Living Ascetic Practitioners of Yoga, Some Theoretical and Practical Insights Beyond Asana: Asceticism, Alchemy & The Tangled Roots of Yoga. Lecture Series
Rudolf Steiner House (London, United Kingdom)
2017/09 Old tool for new times: the rediscovery of ancient holy site in modern India British Association for the Study of Religion
(Chester, United Kingdom)
2016/11 Lecture: Andare nel Pratico della Pratica Ascetica Master in Yoga Studies
Ca’ Foscari University (Venezia, Italy)
2016/10/08 Among the guru and his followers: Power relations and position of a female researcher Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference
University of Bergamo (Bergamo, Italy)
2016/09 The trade of religious titles in contemporary India Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET)
(Lund, Sweden)
2016/06 Evolution of tradition in the Ramanandi sampradaya Among hagiographies, Jagadguru and Math Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference
University of Bergamo (Bergamo, Italy)
2016/05/18 Lecture: The ethnographic aspect of the Hatha Yoga Project. Positioning ethnographers, organizing fieldworks
Jagiellonian University Institute for the Study of Religions (Krakow, Poland)
2016/05 Let the Sadhus Talk. Ascetic practitioners of yoga in northern India International academic conference Yoga darsana, yoga sadhana: traditions, transmissions, transformations
Krakow University (Krakow, Poland)
2016 Foreigner ascetics on the threshold of Hindu religious orders South Asian Anthropologists’ Group (SAAG),
(London, United Kingdom)
2015/06 Guru's communication in contemporary India. Between preaching and Whatsapp groups Asia in Motion: Ideas, Institutions, Identities
Academic Sinica (Taipei, Taiwan)
2013/09 Are women entitled to become ascetics? An historical and ethnographic glimpse of Indian female asceticism Coffee Break Conference
University of Torino (Torino, Italy)
2012/06/13 Do not ask about caste. If you love God, you belong to God. An historical and anthropological description of the Ramanandi sampradaya and its relationship with caste The Study of Asia Between Antiquity and Modernity
Coffee Break Conference (Cagliari, Italy)

Event organisation

Event name
Type of event (Role)
Institution / Organization
2019/11/08 - 2019/11/10 Organizer together with Mark Singleton of the international workshop , “Yoga and the Traditional Physical Practices of India: Influence, Entanglement and Confrontation” (2019/11/08 - 2019/11/11)
Workshop (Co-organisor)
SOAS University of London, United Kingdom
2019/11/08 - 2019/11/10 Organizer together with Mark Singleton of the international workshop , “Yoga and the Traditional Physical Practices of India: Influence, Entanglement and Confrontation” (2019/11/08)
Workshop (Member of the Organising Committee)

Event participation

Activity description
Type of event
Event name
Institution / Organization
2023/07/26 - 2023/07/29 Panel organization for the 27th ECSAS conference in Torino, panel 43 "Trans/Third Gender Communities and Religion in South Asia"
Conference
ECSAS 2023 Turin
2023/06/29 - 2023/06/30 Decolonising or Hinduising hij¿as? Evoking the past for constructing the Kinnar Akha¿a identity
Workshop
Heritage and Religion in South Asia and its Diasporas: Frictions, Entanglements and Reconfigurations
Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, Portugal

Association member

Society Organization name Role
2020 - Current Member of the Centre of Yoga Studies. SOAS University Member

Committee member

Activity description
Role
Institution / Organization
2021 - Current Member of the Academic Committee of the ECSAS 2023, Torino
Member

Conference scientific committee

Conference name Conference host
2022/10 - 2023 ECSAS 2023 Turin University of Turin

Course / Discipline taught

Academic session Degree Subject (Type) Institution / Organization
2021/04/07 - 2021/05/19 Course: HISTORY OF COLONIAL AND POST-COLONIAL SOUTH ASIA, Second Semester Corso di laurea triennale in Comunicazione interculturale (Laurea Specialistica) Università degli Studi di Torino Dipartimento di Culture Politica e Societa, Italy
2021/02/22 - 2021/03/31 Course: STORIA E CULTURE DELL'INDIA, Second Semester HISTORY AND CULTURES OF SOUTH ASIA Oggetto: (Bachelor) Università degli Studi di Torino Dipartimento di Culture Politica e Societa, Italy
2017/10 - 2017/12 The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India Traditions of Yoga and Meditation (Master) SOAS University of London, United Kingdom

Interview (newspaper / magazine)

Activity description Newspaper / Forum
2018/06/28 Interview for Zenon about my work among ascetics in India and their understanding of yoga practices. Zenon

Interview (tv / radio show)

Program Topic
2023/04/29 - Current Chora Media (Ricercati) Gli Hindu e le comunità LGBT+

Journal scientific committee

Journal title (ISSN) Publisher
2020/04/20 - Current Journal of Yoga Studies