Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz’s book “Reciting the Goddess” awarded by the American Academy of Religion
Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz‘s book Reciting the Goddess: Narratives of Place and the Making of Hinduism in Nepal (2018, Oxford University Press) was awarded the 2019 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the Textual Studies Category by the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Birkenholtz is an Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and is a member of ANHS.
Reciting the Goddess presents the first critical study of the Svasthanivratakatha (SVK), a sixteenth-century Hindu narrative textual tradition. The extensive SVK manuscript tradition offers a rare opportunity to observe the making of a specific, distinct Hindu religious tradition. Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz argues that the SVK serves as a lens through which we can observe the creation of modern ‘Hinduism’ in the Himalayas, as the text both mirrored and informed key moments in the self-conscious creation of Nepal as the ‘world’s only Hindu kingdom’ in the late medieval and early modern period.
Dr. Birkenholtz also received, together with collaborator Dr. Alaka Chudal (University of Vienna), a NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations grant to translate into English the Svasthanivratakatha, a key Nepali Hindu devotional text that is the focus of Reciting the Goddess.