Antoinette E. DeNapoli

Associate Professor of Religion and South Asian Religions
Beasley Hall 313 | 817-257-6448

Download CV


Ph.D., Religious Studies, Emory University, 2009
Advanced Hindi Language Certificate, American Institute of Indian Studies, 2002-2003
MA, The Florida State University, 2000
BA, University of South Florida, 1996

Courses Taught

RELI 10023: Understanding Religion: Communities: Religions of South Asia
RELI 30513: Hindu Religious Perspectives

Areas of Focus

Asceticism, Devotion, and Mysticism
Gender and Religion
Religion, Ritual and Performance
Goddess Traditions
Gurus and Divine Personalities
Ethnographic/Narrative Methodologies
Theories and Methods in Religion
Religion, Globalization, and Modernity


Real Sadhus Sing to God: Gender, Asceticism, and Vernacular Religion in Rajasthan (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Journal Articles, Book Chapters, or Book Reviews and Review Articles:

“A Female Shankaracharya? The Alternative Authority of a Feminist Hindu Guru in North India,” Religion and Gender 9.1 (2019): 27-49.

“Earning God through the One-Hundre Rupee Note: Nirguna Bhakti and Religious Experience among Hindu Renouncers in North India,” Religions 9.2 (2018).

“A Mandal of Their Own: Gender and the Reimagining of Community by Hindu Renouncers in Northern India,” in Modern Hinduism in Text and Context, edited by Lavanya Vemsani (Bloomsbury, 2018), 163-192.

“Rhetoric of Technoscience in North Indian Vernacular Asceticism,” in The Changing World Languages Map, edited by Stanley Brunn and Roland Kehrein (Springer, 2018), 1-23.

Speaking Shadows to Light: Vernacular Narrative as a Vehicle for Rajasthani Female Sadhus Voicing Vulnerability and Violence,” in Women and Asian Religions, edited by Zayn Kassam (Praeger, 2017), 87-100.

Guest Editor, Special Issue, “Experimental Dharmas in Asia and the Diaspora,” International Journal of Dharma Studies 5.11 (2017).

“Experimental religiosities and dharma traditions: new directions in the study of vernacular religions in Asia and the Diaspora,” International Journal of Dharma Studies 5.11 (2017).

Dharm is technology: Theologizing the modern in the experimental Hinduism of renouncers in contemporary North India,” International Journal of Dharma Studies 5.11 (2017).

“‘God depends on the Lowest Devotees’: Gender, Performance, and Transformation in the Tale of a Female Hindu Renouncer,” History of Religions 56.4 (2017): 388-425.



“The Satis are Rising!: A Guru’s Quest for Gender Equality in India—Feminism, Agency, and Female Spiritual Leadership in Contemporary South Asia,” Invited Research Presentation for the International Workshop on “The Dynamics of Female Agency in Hinduism and Buddhism,” organized by Ute Huesken, Chair, Department of Religion, South Asian Religions, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany, July 1-5, 2018.

“Being Aware While Being Abroad: Pedagogical Strategies for International Fieldcourses in India,” Asia_Net Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 8, 2018.

“Women Gurus and the Good Life: Constructing Asceticism as the Dharma of Flourishing in India,” Association for Asian Studies, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018.

“God Enters Women’s Bodies to Change the World: A Female Hindu Guru’s Vision of Freedom in North India.” AAR Regional Southwest Conference (SWCRS), Irving, TX, March 11, 2018.

“‘A Female Shankaracarya?: The Feminism and Alternative Religious Leadership of a Controversial Female Hindu Guru in a North Indian Pilgrimage Town,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, November 2017.

“The Power a Woman’s Story Creates: Stories, Lives, and Female Renunciation in Contemporary India,” Invited Keynote Lecture, Southern Methodist University’s Annual South Asia Conference, co-sponsored with the South Asia Research and Information Institute, Dallas, TX, September 16, 2017.

“Stories and Lives: Oral History and Female Renunciation in India,” Invited Public Lecture, The College of Lewis and Clark, Portland, OR, March 2, 2017.

“Leave Everything and Sing to God: Hindu Holy Women in India,” Invited Public Lecture, Saturday University, University of Wyoming, Gillette, WY, February 9, 2017.



American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Short-term Fellowship 2019-2020

Book Leave Fellowship, Global Religion Research Initiative of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, in 2018-2019

American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant, 2017

American Academy of Religion Independent Research Grant, 2012

Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Teaching Fellowship, 2007-2008

American Institute of Indian Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2004-2006

American Institute of Indian Studies Hindi Language Fellowship, 2002-2003

John Fenton Award for the Comparative Study of Religion, Emory University, 2004

Best Hindi Language Student, Emory University, 2002

Muktabodha Indological Research Institute, Sanskrit Studies Grant, 2000

  • American Academy of Indic Studies
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Association for Asian Studies
  • International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture
  • South Asian Studies Association
  • Society for the Anthropology of Religion