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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

Angelika Malinar

Angelika Malinar, Prof. Dr.

  • Professor of Indian Studies
+41 44 634 20 36
Room number
RAA G-31b


Angelika Malinar studied Indology and Philosophy at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität in Tubingen. She gained her PhD in 1991 with a dissertation on the Bhagavadgītā, which was published in 1996 and appeared in a thoroughly revised English version in 2007 (The Bhagavadgītā: doctrines and contexts, Cambridge University Press). Here the whole text is analyzed and the teachings formulated therein are placed in their historical context. From 1992-1998 she was an Assistentin at the Seminar for Indology and Comparative Religious Studies at Tubingen. In 1998 she gained her Habilitation with a study on the concept of nature in Indian philosophy. From 1999 she was involved in the interdisciplinary DFG-focus program “Contested Centers: construction and change in social-cultural identities in the Indian Region Orissa”. In her research project, she dealt with the history and contemporary situation of the monastic institutions of a Hindu religious community in Orissa (Caitanya Tradition). From 2000 she was active as a university lecturer at the Institute for Indian Philology and Art History at the Free University Berlin. In the framework of the ‘special research area’ (SFB 626) “Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits”, she directed the research project “The Indian rasa-teaching as concept of Aesthetic Experience”. In 2005, she became a Senior Lecturer at the Department for the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Since 2009 she has been Professor of Indian Studies at the University of Zurich, where she has been engaged in the University Research Priority Program (URPP) “Asia and Europe”, amongst other things. She is a co-editor of the Handbuch der Orientalistik and the multi-volume Brill´s Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. edited by K. A. Jacobsen, H. Basu, A. Malinar and V. Narayanan, 6 Vols. Leiden, 2009–2015).

Research interests

Hinduism in history and present, Indian philosophy und aesthetics, Sanskrit literature (especially Epos und Purana), Modern Hinduism- and Oriya literature, tradeoffs between India and Europe in Modernity

Selected Publications


2009    Hinduismus: Reader. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht (UTB).

2009    Hinduismus. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht (UTB).

2007    The Bhagavadgītā: Doctrines and Contexts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

1998    Natur-Beweise: Funktion und Interpretation des prakṛti-Begriffs im Sāṃkhya. Tübingen, (Habilitationsschrift).

1996    Rājavidyā: Das königliche Wissen um Herrschaft und Verzicht. Studien zur Bhagavadgītā. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Edited Volumes:

2018    Asia and Europe – Interconnected: Agents, Concepts, and Things, edited by A. Malinar & S. Müller, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

2009-2015      Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, edited by K. A. Jacobsen, H. Basu, A. Malinar & V. Narayanan, 6 Vols., Leiden: Brill.

2007    Un/Reinheit: Konzepte und Erfahrungsmodi im Kulturvergleich, herausgegeben von A. Malinar & M. Vöhler, München: Fink.

2007    Time in India: Concepts and Practices, edited by A. Malinar, New Delhi: Manohar.

2004    Text and Context in the History, Literature and Religion of Orissa, edited by A. Malinar, J. Beltz & H. Frese, New Delhi: Manohar.

2003    Indien-Forschung im Zeitwandel: Analysen und Dokumente zur Indologie und Vergleichenden Religionswissenschaft in Tübingen, herausgegeben von H. Brückner, K. Butzenberger, A. Malinar & G. Zeller, Tübingen: Attempto.

2001    Charisma and Canon: Essays on the Religious History of the Indian Subcontinent, edited by V. Dalmia, A. Malinar & M. Christof, Oxford, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

1992    Epic and Purāṇic Bibliography (up to 1985) Annotated and with Indexes, edited by H. v. Stietencron, K.-P. Gietz, A. Malinar et al., 2 Vols., Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.


2022    Ideas of “Indian Philosophy” in 19th century Germany: Vivekananda, Deussen and Garbe, in: Hans Harder & Dhruv Raina (eds.). Disciplines and Movements. Conversations between India and the German-speaking World. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 129-169.

2022    Entwined Decision-Making in the Mahābhārata Epic. In: J. Koch et al. (eds.). Practices of Transformation-Transformation of Practices. Essays in Honour of Helene Basu. Münster: Olms, 99-123.

2020    Religious Plurality and Individual Authority in the Mahābhārata, in: Religious Individualisation: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, Vol. 2, edited by M. Fuchs et al., Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter, 1173-1200.

2020    Caste, Initiation and Monasticism in the Caitanya Tradition of Hinduism, in: M. Breitenstein & G. Melville (eds.) Between community and seclusion: defining the religious life in the South Asian traditions, in Buddhism, and in Eastern and Western Christianity. Münster: Lit Verlag, 41-64.

2019    Indiens „säkulare” Religion: Nationalistische Deutungen des Hinduismus, in: Religion und Gesellschaft: Sinnstiftungssysteme im Konflikt, herausgegeben von F. W. Graf & K.-U. Hartmann, Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter, 201-229.

2017    Narrating Sāṃkhya Philosophy: Bhīṣma, Janaka and Pañcaśikha at Mahābhārata 12.211–12, in: Journal of Indian Philosophy 45, 4: 609-649.

2017    Philosophy in the Mahābhārata and the History of Indian Philosophy, in: Journal of Indian Philosophy 45, 4: 587-604.

2016    Konfigurationen von Mystik zwischen Indien und Europa, in: Meister-Eckhart-Jahrbuch 10: 103-120.

2015    Nārada and the Pāṇḍavas: Regulating Domestic Life in the Mahābhārata, in: “In Her Right Hand She Held a Silver Knife with Small Bells...”: Studies in Indian Culture and Literature, edited by A. A. Esposito, H. Oberlin, B. A. Viveka Rai & K. J. Steiner, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 157-176.

2015    Religious Pluralism and Processes of Individualization in Hinduism, in: Religion 45, 3: 386-408.

2015    Religionsfreiheit und Hinduismus, in: Religionsfreiheit: Positionen, Konflikte, Herausforderungen, herausgegeben von H. Ziebertz, Würzburg: Echter, 183-210.

2015    Unaufhörliche Amtseinsetzung: Die Konsekrierung des Königs im klassischen Indien, in: Rituale der Amtseinsetzung: Inaugurationen in verschiedenen Epochen, Kulturen, politischen Systemen und Religion, herausgegeben von H. Basu & G. Althoff, München: Ergon, 257-281.

2014    “Following One’s Desire” (kāmacāra): On a Characterisation of Freedom in Vedic Literature and the Mahābhārata, in: Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques 68, 4: 757-782.

2012    Yoga Practices in the Bhagavadgītā, in: Yoga in Practice, edited by D. G. White, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 58-72.

2012    Yoga Powers in the Mahābhārata, in: Yoga Powers: Extraordinary Capacities Attained through Meditation and Concentration, edited by K. A. Jacobsen, Leiden: Brill, 33-60.

2011    Vier Veden und der ‘fünfte Veda’: Über Kanonbildung im Hinduismus, in: Kanon und Kanonisierung: Ein Schlüsselbegriff der Kulturwissenschaften im interdisziplinären Dialog, herausgegeben von K. Kollmar-Paulenz et al., Basel: Schwabe, 182-211.

2010    Something like Liberation: Prakṛtilaya (Absorption in the Cause/s of Creation) in Yoga and Sāṃkhya, in: Release from Life – Release in Life: Indian Perspectives on Individual Liberation, edited by A. Bigger et al., New York, Bern: Peter Lang, 129-156.

2007    Arguments of a Queen: Draupadī’s Views on Kingship, in: Epic Constructions: Gender and Narrative in the Mahābhārata, edited by B. Black & S. Brodbeck, London: Routledge, 79-96.

2005    How Purāṇas Relate the Mahābhārata: The Case of King Parikṣit, in: Epics, Khilas, and Purāṇas: Continuities and Ruptures. Proceedings of the Third Dubrovnik International Conference on Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇas, September 2002, edited by P. Koskikallio, Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 465-494.

2003    Completeness through Limitation: On the Classification of tattvas in Sāṃkhya Philosophy, in: Berliner Indologische Studien 16-18: 304-321.

1998    Wechselseitige Abhängigkeiten und die Hierarchie der Körper: Zum Verhältnis zwischen Tieren und Menschen in hinduistischen Traditionen nach der episch-purāṇischen Literatur, in: Tiere und Menschen: Zu Geschichte und Aktualität einer prekären Beziehung, herausgegeben von P. Münch, Paderborn: Schönigh, 47-77.

1989    Rasa: The Audience and the Stage, in: Journal of Arts and Ideas 17-18: 33-42.