Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Lynna Dhanani will join the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis in the Fall of 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. Currently completing her PhD at Yale University, her research explores the confluence of interreligious polemics, philosophical debate, devotional themes, and poetics in the Sanskrit hymns of the celebrated twelfth-century Svetambara Jain Hemacandra, court pandit to two Hindu kings of medieval Gujarat. Having dedicated herself to the study of multiple Indian religions for more than two decades, Lynna has a wide range of interests, including Jainism, Sanskrit and Prakrit language and literature, medieval Indian alchemical traditions, yoga and tantra, Indian devotional movements, Indian philosophy, and especially South Asian religious art.
As recipient of the Jambuvijaya Memorial Fellowship sponsored by the Jain eLibrary, Lynna will spend the 2019–20 academic year in India, documenting the life and work of the Muni Jambuvijaya (1923–2009), one of the most influential Jain monastic figures of the twentieth century, who has assisted countless scholars in the study of Jainism and Indian religions. She will document the state of his manuscript preservation projects in various archives and libraries of northwest India, record the contents of his own personal library, and catalog and procure the several Sanskrit and Prakrit texts edited by Jambuvijaya and his disciples. Additionally, she will interview members of his monastic community and the larger academic community in order to collect biographical details of his life as head monk and scholar.