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KHK Visting Research Fellow 2019
Associate Researcher Sapienza University of Rome

Marianna Ferrara received a Ph.D. in History of Religions from the Sapienza University of Rome, where she currently holds the position of associate researcher. Her research interests include the relations between ritual practices, canon, and authority. She started her studies in the field of Indology and completed her Ph.D. in the history of South Asian religions, focusing on the political function of ritual in ancient India. Her doctoral dissertation explores social and religious displaying of power by means of ritual language. It also investigates the uses of the Sanskrit term yajña (offering) and its derivatives in order to examine the rivalries among religious groups and their relations with royal sponsorship.

After receiving her doctoral degree, Marianna Ferrara dedicated her research to the topic of sacrifice as a critical category for the study of religions. As such, she paid special attention both to modern European scholarship on Asian religions and to early modern travel writing on Indiae Orientalis, in connection with religion as a colonial concept. In her publications, Marianna also undertook a critical evaluation of Eliade's influence on the study of Asian religions and of his phenomenological approach on shamanism through Indology.

Education

  • Ph.D., History of Religions, Sapienza University of Rome, 2012
  • M.A., Philosophy, University of Palermo, 2004

KHK Fellowship
Duration: April - July 2019
Project: How to Negotiate "Sacrifice" and "Idolatry" in Religious Encounters: Identifying the Native Religious Informants of Catholic Missionaries in Early Modern South Asia