Dr. Aleksandra Wenta

Dr. Aleksandra Wenta

Assistant Professor

Dr. Aleksandra Wenta is Assistant Professor in the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions. She was trained at Oxford University, Banaras Hindu University, and Jagiellonian University. She was fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (2012-2014) where she worked on the aesthetics of power in medieval Chidambaram. Her scholarly interests range from Buddhism in India and Tibet, through Sanskrit and history of Śaivism in Kashmir and South India, to the performance theories and emotions in pre-modern India. She is currently working on the history of the transmission of the esoteric Buddhist cult from India to Tibet.

Selected Publications


2018. Dancing in the Sky of Consciousness: The Aesthetics of Power in Medieval Cidambaram. Shimla: IIAS.

Edited Volume

2015 (reprint, 2018). Emotions in Indian Thought-Systems. London/New York/Delhi: Routledge, Global and South Asian edition.

Reviews: Sonam Kachru, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 79, issue 3/ October 2016.


‘Becoming the Dancer: Dissolving the Boundaries Between Cognition, Ritual and Theatrical Performance in Non-dual Śaivism’, Theatrical and Ritual Boundaries in South Asia, Part II, eds. E. Ganser & E. Debicka-Borek, Cracow Indological Studies (2018) 30 (2), forthcoming.

‘The Making of Tantric Orthodoxy in the Eleventh-Century Indo- Tibetan World: *Jñānākara’s *Mantrāvatāra’, Journal of Indian Philosophy, (2018), 46 (3), pp. 505- 551.

‘Smell: The Sense-Perception of Recognition’, Tantrapuṣpāñjali: Tantric Traditions and Philosophy of Kashmir. Studies in Memory of Pandit H.N Chakravarty, (eds.) Bettina Bäumer & Hamsa Stainton, Delhi: India Gandhi National Centre for the Arts & Arya Books International, 2018, pp. 325-338.

‘From Spectator to Dancer: Performance Metaphor and the Quest for Knowledge in India’, Cahiers de la Fondation: Indialogues, No.11 (2016/2017), pp.13-17.

‘ The Twelve Kālīs and Utpaladeva’ s Appraisal of the Sensory Experience’, Utpaladeva: A Philosopher of Recognition. Proceedings of the Seminar Held on 20-21 August 2010 at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, eds. Raffaele Torella & Bettina Bäumer. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study & Delhi: D.K. Printworld, 2015, pp. 352-369.

August 2010 at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, eds. Raffaele Torella & Bettina Bäumer. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study & Delhi: D.K. Printworld, 2015, pp. 352-369.

‘Between Fear and Heroism: The Tantric Path to Liberation’, Emotions in Indian Thought-Systems, eds. Purushottama Bilimoria & Aleksandra Wenta. London: Routledge, Ltd. 2015, pp. 114-136.

‘Emotions in Indian Thought-Systems: An Introduction’, co-authored with P. Bilimoria, Emotions in Indian Thought-Systems, (eds.) P. Bilimoria & A. Wenta. London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 1-56.

‘The Great Ārdrā Darśanam Festival: Performing Śaiva Religious Texts in Contemporary Chidambaram’, International Journal of Hindu Studies, 17(3), 2014, pp. 371-398.

Recent Conferences/Paper Presentations

Paper presentation at the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, Vancouver, Cananda, July 2018.

Paper presentation at the “Time, Region and Female Agency in Hindu Texts and Practices” panel of the Annual South Asia Conference, University of Wisconsin- Madison, Madison, U.S.A. 25th28th October, 2017.

Paper presentation at the “Tantra and the Margins” Workshop, FIND, India- Europe Foundation for New Dialogues, Zagarolo, Italy, 21st -22nd October 2017.

Paper presentation at the XVIII Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, University of Toronto, Canada, 20th -25th August 2017.

Talk on “Debating Desire and Wrathful Rites in the phyi dar Period”, The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, 13th June 2017.

Talk on “What does it mean to be a playful agent: The Kashmiri Śaiva Reformulation of Naṭarāja”, The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, 5th June 2017.

Talk on “Encountering Wrath: Texts and the History of Practice in Mediaeval India and Tibet”, Manuscripts and Early Texts Culture Lunch Colloquium, The Queens’s College, University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K., 16th May 2017.

Paper presentation at the workshop on “Buddhism and Legitimization, Ludwig- Maximilian University, Münich, Germany, 20th-21st March 2017.

Talk on “How to Conceptualize Esoteric Śākta Traditions”, The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, U.K, 29th February 2016.

Paper presentation at the 16th World Sanskrit Conference, Bangkok, Thailand held from 28th June-5 th July 2015.

Research interests

Śaiva-Buddhist Intertextuality; Indo-Tibetan Tantra; Comparative Religions; Sanskrit; Tibetan; Tibetan and Himalayan Studies; War Magic Rituals; Ritual Studies; Transmission of Buddhism from India to Tibet; Aesthetics.

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