Sree Padma Holt

Research Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the ISLE Program


  • Ph.D., History and Archaeology, Andhra University; Visakhapatnam, India
  • M.A., History, Andhra University; Visakhapatnam, India
  • M.A., Archaeology, Andhra University; Visakhapatnam, India

Professional Experience

2018- Executive Consultant, Inter-collegiate Sri Lanka (ISLE)
2018- Research Associate Professor, Asian Studies Program, Bowdoin College
2014 Research Assistant Professor, Asian Studies, Bowdoin College
2010- Executive Director, Inter-collegiate Sri Lanka (ISLE) Program, Bowdoin College
Lecturer, Asian Studies, Bowdoin College
2010-11 Visiting Research Scholar, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
Lecturer, Asian Studies Program, Bowdoin College
1998- 2010
Administrative Director, Inter-collegiate Sri Lanka (ISLE)  Program, Bowdoin College
1995-98 Visiting Assistant Professor, Asian Studies Program and Department of History, Bowdoin College.
1994-1995 Visiting Lecturer and Research Associate, Women's  Studies in Religion Program, Harvard University
1990-1994 Research Associate (funded by University Grants Commission, Delhi), Department of History and Archaeology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
1989-1990 Research Assistant, Center for Marine Archaeological  Studies, Andhra University.


Research, Publications and Papers


2016 Fractured Bliss. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris Publishing House.2016 Fractured Bliss. Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris Publishing House.

2014 Inventing and Reinventing the Goddess: Contemporary Iterations of Hindu Deities on the Move. Edited volume. Published by Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 284pp.

2013 Vicissitudes of the Goddess: Reconstructions of the Gramadevata in India’s Religious Traditions. New York: Oxford University Press, 367pp.

2008 Buddhism in the Krishna River Valley of Andhra. Co-edited with A. W. Barber, New York: State University of New York Press, 216 pp.

1991 Costume, Coiffure and Ornament in the Temple Sculpture of Northern Andhra. New Delhi: Agam Kala Prakasan, 420 pp.


2018 “Sri Lanka in 2017: Sluggish in Many Fronts” Asian Survey 58:1 January/February 2018, University of California, Berkeley

2011 “Dance” in Arnold P. Kaminsky & Roger D. Long ed. India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic Volume I, West Port, CT: Greenwood Press, Pp. 161-167.

2011 “Sri Lanka, Relations With” in Arnold P. Kaminsky & Roger D. Long ed. India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic Volume II, West Port, CT: Greenwood Press, Pp. 663-665.

2011 "Hariti: Village Origins, Buddhist Elaborations and Saivite Accommodations" in The Journal ofAsian and African Area Studies (ASAFAS) No. 11-1, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, Pp. 1-17.

2011 “Neither Sinhala Nor Tamil – On Being a South Asian in Sri Lanka” in John Holt, ed. Sri Lanka Reader Durham: Duke University Press, Pp. 680-686.

2010 “Women and Religious Rites” in K.L. Seshagiri Rao, ed. Encyclopedia of Hinduism (project of India Heritage Research Foundation) University of South Carolina Press.

2001 “From Village to City: Transforming Goddesses in Urban Andhra Pradesh: in Tracy Pintchman ed. Seeking Mahadevi: Constructing the Indentities of the Hindu Great Goddess. New York: State University of New York Press: 115-144.

1998 "Buddhism in Andhra and Its Influences on Buddhism in Sri Lanka," The Indian Historical ReviewXXIII nos. 1-2 July 1996 & January 1997(New Delhi) (with John Clifford Holt; pages. 1-18).

1996 “Fabrics-Their Origin and Spread in Ancient Times” in K.V.Ramesh et all ed., Gauravam – Recent Researches in Indology – Professor B. K. Gururajarao Felicitation Volumes. New Delhi: Harman Publishing House, 390-395.

1996 “Ancient Andhra – Its Intercourse with East and South – East Asia” in M. Rao, et all, ed., India’s Cultural Relations With East and South-East Asia. Delhi: Sharada Publishing House.

1995 "Early Trade Relations--India and Sri Lanka," in S.R. Rao, ed. Proceedings of the Indian Conference on Marine Archaeology of Indian Ocean Countries. Dona Paula, Goa: National Institute of Oceanography (14 page manuscript).

1994 “Ancient Cultural Interaction of Andhra Pradesh,” in S.R. Rao, ed. Proceedings of the Indian Conference on Marine Archaeology of Indian Ocean Countries. Dona Paula,Goa: National Institute of Oceanography, 45-49.

1993 "Maritime Archaeology of Andhra Pradesh-Prolegomenon to a Study of a Roman Influenced Buddhist Culture in South India," Bulletin Australian Institute For Marine Archaeology 17: 39-44.

1993 "Coins and Maritime Trade of Andhra Country," in A.V. Narasimha Murthy, ed. Studies in South Indian Coins. 3 vols. Madras: New Era Publications for South Indian Numismatic Society, 3: 97-100.

1993 "Krishna In Medieval Art--A Study in Eastern Ganga Temples in Andhra Pradesh," Vishnu in Art, Thought and Literature. Hyderabad: Birla Archeological and Cultural Research Institute, pp. 245-253.

1992 "Ancient South India--Its Textile Industry and Trade,” Indica (Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, Bombay). Vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 1-8.

1992 "Motupalli Port in Medieval Times," in Journal of Maritime Archaeology (Goa, India) Vol. 3: 37-41.

1991 "Kalingapatnam Through the Ages," in S.R. Rao, ed. Proceedings of Indian Conference on Marine Archaeology of Indian Ocean Countries: Recent Advances in Marine Archaeology. Goa: National Institute of Oceanography, pp. 73-74.

1991 "Traditional Navigation in Andhra--A Study," Proceedings of the 15th Andhra Pradesh History Congress (Nellore), pp. 47-50.

1990 "Seaborne Trade in Andhra during Satavahana Times," Journal of History, Culture and Society(New Delhi). pp. 28-36.

1990 "Materials and Designs in Indian Textiles through the Ages,” Itihas (Hyderabad, Dept. of State Archives, Andhra Pradesh). Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 113-9.

1990 "Coiffure--Continuity from the Vedic to the Sunga Period,” Colloquium on South Indian Archaeology. (Hyderabad: Birla Archaeological and Cultural Research Institute), pp. 91-98.

1989 "The Submerged Port Town near Odachipurupalle, Visakhapatnam District, A.P." Souvenir, Workshop on Potential for Marine Archaeological Research in A.P. (Andhra University, Visakhapatnam), p.19.

1989 "Life Gleams in Sculpture--the Kameswara Temple, Galavalli,” Proceedings of the 13th Andhra Pradesh History Congress. pp. 103-106.

1989 "Andhra Sculpture--A Bridge between the North and the South,” Itihas (Hyderabad, Dept. of State Archives, Andhra Pradesh) Vol.15, No. 2., pp.45-54.

1988 "Jewellery in Sri Kurmam Temple Sculpture," Proceedings of the 12th Andhra Pradesh History Congress. pp. 99-101.

Papers presented at scholarly meetings:

2015 “Why is Vibhishana Unique? Vibhishana’s Deification, Nativization and Buddhacization” The 40thAnnual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

2013 “Daughter of the House: Uppalamma Flowing From Traditional Ground to New Ground,” The 72nd Annual Conference of Association of Asian Studies, San Diego.

2011 “Transcending Boundaries: A Study of the Cult of Sammakka- Sarakka in Andhra Pradesh,” The 40thAnnual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

2011 “From Murdered Women to Auspicious Goddesses: Dramatic Apotheosis in Rural Andhra Pradesh, India,” Public Lecture at Loyola University, Chicago.

2011 “Multiple Selves of the Mountain Goddess Durga,” The 4th International Conference of the South and Southeast Asian Association for the Study of Religion and Culture, Thimpu, Bhutan.

2011 “Who is For Real? Contesting Identities of Vijayawada Kanaka Durga,” The 70th Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, Honolulu, Hawai’i.

2008 “The South Indian Goddess in European Narratives,” The 37th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

2002 "The Material Culture in Andhra and the Emergence of Urban Buddhism,” The 31st Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

2000 "Hariti in Chinese Texts,” Public Lecture in the Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Calgary, Calgary

1998 "The Cult of Hariti,” The 27th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

1998 "Serpent Symbolism in the Mythologies of Andhra Folk Goddesses,” The 57th Annual Conference of Association of Asian Studies, Washington, D.C.

1997 "Virginity and Its Power in the Telugu Culture of India,” Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

1996 "Sacrifice and Feminine Power: Sati Traditions in Andhra Pradesh,” Association of Asian Studies- New England Region, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.

1995 "From Village to City: Transforming Goddesses in Urban Andhra Pradesh,” The 24th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

1995 "Auspicious Deaths? Ritual Immolation and the Deification of Women in Traditional and Modern India,” Dept. of History, Western Michigan University.

1995 "Folk Goddesses in Andhra Pradesh,” Harvard Divinity School, Women’s Studies in Religion Lecture Series, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

1994 "Village Deities of South India,” South Asia Colloquium, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

1994 "Guardian Deities in Visakhapatnam: Myth, Ritual and Symbol.” National Seminar on the Art and Architecture of the Deccan, Hyderabad.

1994 "Cultural Transformations in Ancient Andhra Pradesh,"18th Annual Andhra Pradesh History Congress, Tenali, Andhra Pradesh.

1994 "Littoral Activities of Ancient Kalinga as a Part of Andhra.” 14th Annual South Indian History Congress, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.

1993 "Buddhist Stupas and Maritime Ports: Religion and Economic Activity in Andhra Pradesh," 34th International Congress of Asian and North African Studies, Hong Kong.

1992 "Buddhism in Andhra at the Time of the Rise of Mahayana--Its Influence on Sri Lanka." 52nd All India History Congress, Delhi.

1992 "Early Trade Relations--India and Sri Lanka." Indian Conference on Marine Archaeology of Indian Ocean Countries, Dharwad, Karnataka.

1992 "The Role of Coins in the Maritime History of Andhra Pradesh," 80th Annual Conference of the Numismatics Society of India, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

1992 "Evolution of Costume during Vijayanagar Period," National Seminar on Social, Economic and Cultural History of Vijayanagara, Vishakhapatnam.

1991 "Ancient Andhra--Its Intercourse with East and Southeast Asia," 12th Meeting of the International Association of Historians of Asia, Hong Kong.

1991 "Weavers and Their Organisations in Ancient India,"15th Meeting of the Indian History and Cultural Society, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

1990 "Motupalli--Its Role in Medieval Times," 14th Annual Andhra Pradesh History Congress,Warangal, Andhra Pradesh.

1990 "Fabrics--Their Role in the Ancient World," 51st All India History Congress, Calcutta.

1989 "Archival Data--Its Role in Marine Archaeology," Workshop on Potential for Marine Achaeological Research in Andhra Pradesh, Visakhapatnam.

1988 "Hair Styles Delineated in the Mukhalingam Temple Sculpture." 8th Annual South Indian History Conference, Quilon, Kerala.

1987 "Sculptures in Simhachalam Temple--A Special Study on Dress and Decorations." 7th South Indian History Conference, Madras.

1987 "The Vedic Vani Links the Missing Nuance in the Evolution and Continuity of Indian Costume." 34th Annual Session of the All India Oriental Conference, Visakhapatnam.

Research in progress:

Legacy of the Ramayana in the History of Sri Lanka

Rejuvenation and Resurrection: Herbal History through Colonial and Post-Colonial Sri Lanka

Awards and Fellowships

1994 Senior Fellow, Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, University of Chicago (declined)

1994 Research Fellow, Institute for Research in the Humanities, Stanford University (declined)

1985-1988 Research Fellowship, Indian Council of Historical Research

1984 Ramachandrayya Shastipurti Award (for 1st rank in M.A. Archaeology), 1984