Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Elizabeth Cecil

PhD Candidate in Religious Studies
Summer Fellow 2015


Downloadable CV

Elizabeth is a Ph.D. Candidate in the South Asian Religions Program. Her dissertation, "Mapping a Contested Landscape: Religion, Politics, and Place in the Making of Pashupata Identity," investigates the growth of the earliest Shaiva devotional movement (i.e. Pashupatas) in early medieval northwest India. Through an interdisciplinary approach that unites philological work on Sanskrit texts and inscriptions with the study of material culture, her research explores the ways in which sanctified spaces were used to materialize an early Shaiva identity.

Related to her focus on early Shaivism, Elizabeth has worked closely with the international team of scholars engaged in the critical editing and analysis of the Skandapurana, a foundational text for the study of Shaiva religiosity. She has also conducted extensive fieldwork and research in original sources in South and Southeast Asia with the support of Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowships from the Council of Library and Information Resourcs (CLIR) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). She is curently completing her dissertation at the Institute of Area Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands with the support of the Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

Elizabeth is qualified to teach courses on South Asian religions, the history of pre-colonial South Asia, the material and visual cultures of South Asia, and practices of pilgrimage. She has experience teaching courses on Sanskrit language and literary history and she is competent to teach courses on Theory and Method in Religious Studies and the History of World Religions.

Elizabeth was a CCSA fellow in the summer of 2015 for her project, "Gods Imprisoned: Theft, Memory, and Heritage Making in Modern Rajasthan."