Anna A. Golovkova

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion

Teaching this semester

ASNS 2552/REL 2220. Hindu Literatures

In this exploration of Hindu texts, we delve into some of the most ancient and beloved literature from the Indian subcontinent. Students read major scriptural sources, including the Vedas and Upanishads. In our study of the epics (the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, including the Bhagavad Gita), we discuss translations from Sanskrit and popular retellings of these stories into other languages and media. We discuss the Puranas, reading the story of the warrior Goddess in the Devi Mahatmyam and investigate visual representations of gods and goddesses. We also sample Sanskrit classical poetry and devotional literature to the Goddess translated from Bengali.

ASNS 2739/REL 2225. Tantric Traditions

Developed in the Indian subcontinent in the second millennium CE, tantric traditions often used transgressive practices, which violated rules of ritual purity. Examines “esoteric” (tantric) religious traditions, which spanned the continuum between heterodox and orthodox Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism. Studies tantric doctrines, rituals, and cosmologies, analyzing the role of deities, mantras, yantras (ritual diagrams), mudras (ritual gestures), meditation, and visualizations in tantric ritual. Surveys scriptures, philosophical treatises, and historical and anthropological studies to discuss the rise of tantric traditions and investigate contemporary constructions of Tantra in the West.


  • B.A., Moscow State Linguistics University
  • M.A., Columbia
  • M.St., Oxford
  • Ph.D., Cornell