Graduate Students

This is not a comprehensive directory — inclusion is voluntary. If you are a DSSEAS graduate student and would like to be listed, or have your listing updated, please e-mail the department chair.

Anurag Advani

Mughal history; social aberrance in the Mughal world; historicizing the subaltern in precolonial South Asia; early modernity, Persian and Urdu; poetry, gender and agency; Sufism. 

anurag_advani [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Lisa Brooks

History, philosophy and anthropology of Indian medicine (Ayurveda and early Buddhist medicine); Sanskrit and Malayalam; contemporary transnational and Keralan Ayurveda; gender, sexuality, and the body in Sanskrit literature; South Asian religions; global history of medicinal leeching; critical theories of agency and subjectivity; feminist science and technology studies; sensory studies; UC Berkeley Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies and Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

labrooks [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Katherine (Katie) Bruhn

Indonesian modern and contemporary art history; Minangkabau; visual culture; creativity and its application to studies of the urban, artistic production, and art worlds; Southeast Asian Studies; Islam and contemporary Islamic arts

katiebruhn [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Melissa Carlson

Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art; national identity; censorship; Southeast Asian Studies; Myanmar

melissa_carlson [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Alex Ciolac

Indian Tantra in its many embodiments. Yantras. Jain Stotras. Sanskrit.

magnetic_movements [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Qiao Dai

Cultural studies on mainland Southeast Asian local religions and indigenous spirituality in the colonial and contemporary period; the acculturation in Burmese Jataka stories; Burmese nat worship; folk narratives within Sino-Tibetan language sphere; sacred geographical sites and pilgrimages.

qiao_dai [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Ryan Damron

Buddhist and Hindu Tantra; antinomian forms of religiosity; Sanskrit, Tibetan, Apabhramsa and Bengali literary traditions

rdamron [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Yusmarni Djalius

Southeast Asian Studies; intellectual and cultural history; Indonesia; Indonesia-US relations; Islam; Minangkabau

djalius [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Nicole Ferreira

History of medieval and early modern South Asia; Indo-Afghan identity and ethnogenesis; patronage, writing, and circulation of texts; practices of history writing in Sultanate and Mughal India; Persian.

n [dot] ferreira [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Kashi Gomez

My dissertation explores the problematics of female authorship in Sanskrit literature, touching on issues of Sanskrit aesthetics, canon formation, commentarial authority, and methods of reading. My related interests include all things kāvya; Sanskrit literary production in the Vijayanagara period and Thanjavur court; satire; and literary theory and feminist literary theory.

kashi [dot] gomez [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez

I am a Ph.D. candidate in South and Southeast Asian Studies with a designated emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. My dissertation project is a history of botany in the Philippines (1873 - 1921) that relies on Spanish, U.S., and Tagalog archives. My research interests include histories of science; comparative Spanish and U.S. colonialisms; Spanish and Tagalog languages; and Philippine and Southeast Asian craft technologies.

gutierrezk [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Megan Hewitt

Southeast Asian Studies with emphases in Indonesian Languages and Literatures, Social and Cultural Movements, Arts and Activism, Critical Pedagogies, Cultural History, and Agrarian Transformation.

meganrobin [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Thiti Jamkajornkeiat

Inter-Southeast Asian Knowledge Production, Intellectual history of Marxist thoughts in (Southeast) Asia with an emphasis on Indonesia, Third Worldism, Bandung Internationalism, Postcoloniality, Global Critical Theory, the Intersected Questions of Life, Environment, Land, Energy, Food, Science, Technology, Infrastructure, Affect, and Critique in Asia.

tj [dot] zedrick [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Priya Kothari

Sanskrit, Hindi (including Braj and Avadhi) and Gujarati language and literature; receptive histories; theories of religion and religious experience; bhakti traditions; Puṣṭimārga and Vallabha samprādaya; the use of authoritative texts in contemporary social and religious practice.

pkothari [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Petra Lamberson

Sanskrit; Indian Buddhism, especially early Yogācāra.

petra [dot] lamberson [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Padma D. Maitland
Hindi travel literature; modern Buddhism in India; art and architecture; conservation and heritage; countercultural exchanges between India and California.
John Pickens

History of Buddhism — the types of practices meant for beginners, and the development of the tantric preliminary practices in Tibet. Chinese, Sanskrit and Tibetan languages.

johnpickens [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Sohini Pillai

Premodern Hindi (Braj Bhasha and Avadhi) and Tamil literature; vernacular retellings of the Mahabharata; the Sanskrit epics; comparative literature; bhakti traditions; representations of South Asian literature in performance, television and film.

sohini [dot] pillai [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Kellie Powell
I hope to shed light on the development of tantra across South and Southeast Asia using a multidisciplinary approach. My research interests include: trade and the exchange of ideas, archaeology of religious sites, manuscript culture, development of new ritual technologies, and buddhist pilgrimage. I work in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Pāli.
Omar Qashoa

Graduate Student

omar_qashoa [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Sophearith Siyonn

Southeast Asian Studies, Cambodia, Sanskrit

Paul Thomas

Paul is a third year Ph. D. student, specializing in the intersection between medieval Indian Buddhist tantra and Śaiva tantra.  

paul_thomas [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Christopher Tompkins

I am a Ph.D. candidate in South and Southeast Asian Studies with an emphasis on the roots and evolution of Yoga in the tradition of Tantrik Śaivism. My dissertation is entitled “Kuṇḍalinī and the Tantric Origins of Haṭha Yoga.” Its purpose is to present the daily Yoga regimen (yogavidhi) ubiquitous to medieval Tantric Śaivism, a tradition known to itself as the ‘Path of Mantras’ (Mantramārga). For more details on my research interests or to peruse some of my writings, please visit In 2012 I founded the Tantric Manuscript Preservation Project, which seeks to preserve and share the literal legacy of Kashmir’s Shaiva traditions. That year I returned from Srinagar, Kashmir with 12,500+ pages of scanned manuscripts belonging to the Tantric traditions of this region. To date, more than a dozen scholars have referenced texts from this collection in their published articles or books.

cpt [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Janet Um

Sanskrit literature and literary histories; modes of narration in premodern South Asia; urban sociality.

janetum [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Sophia Van Zyle Warshall

Maritime Southeast Asian history of the 5th-13th centuries; Indonesia; Indian Ocean; epigraphy;  archaeology; material culture; religion; Buddhism; trade routes and networks of exchange; Indonesian, Sanskrit and Old Javanese.

warshall [at]
Rebecca Whittington

Bengali, Tamil, translation studies, comparative literature

rebeccadiane87 [at] gmail [dot] com
Kankan Xie

Left-wing intellectual networks in the late-colonial Malay World (currently Indonesia and Malaysia); Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia; Dutch colonial history; governance and rural development in contemporary Indonesia.

xiekankan [at] berkeley [dot] edu
Khenpo Yeshi
Tibetan Buddhism, Early Dzogchen development.