Dr Ophira Gamliel
- Lecturer in South Asian Religions (Theology & Religious Studies)
My main areas of research are in South Asian languages, cultures, and religions, past and present. I am especially interested in the history of connections and exchanges between religions and regions, communities and generations, peoples and institutions. Specifically, my area of expertise is Kerala history and culture, and Malayalam language and literature.
I studied and taught Sanskrit and Malayalam in Jerusalem and in Germany (Bochum and Tübingen). I am especially interested in event structures and semantic bleaching in various languages, including Hebrew, my native language.
I work on performance and ritual studies, especially in the context of shared festivals, and on the documentation and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
My research on Kerala’s culture and society intersects with environmental humanities and climate change adaptation and transformation.
- Kerala State Higher Education Council Grant Erudite Scholar Lecture Series (2018)
- Aranmula Award of the Third International Kerala History Conference (2015)
- Käte Hamburger Kolleg project “Sensory Devotion and Inter-religious Encounters: Shared Festivals in Kerala (South India)” (2015)
- Rothschild Fellowship for Post-Doctoral Studies Malayalam linguistics with Venugopala Panicker (2010)
- Ben-Zvi Institute Grant: Documentation of Jewish Malayalam, in collaboration with Jarmo Forsström (2008-2009)
- Jewish Languages Department Morag Award, Hebrew University (2008)
- Rotenstreich Fellowship Grant, Hebrew University (2004-2008)
- Sternberg Prize for Interfaith Understanding, Hebrew University (2000)
- Workshop Toward Equitable Resilience: Social-Ecological Systems in the Changing Climate of the Indian Ocean Littoral – in collaboration with the School of Engineering and under the auspices of the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Scottish Funding Council (October 2019, ₤25,297)
- Digitisation project (pilot): Locating and Sampling Arabic and Arabic-Malayalam Manuscripts in Kerala, South India, under the auspices of the Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library, (November – December 2019, ₤11,125) https://blogs.bl.uk/endangeredarchives/2019/12/locating-and-sampling-arabic-and-arabic-malayalam-manuscripts-in-kerala-south-india.html
I am happy to supervise PhD projects on the religions, cultures, history, and literature of South Asia, past and present.
I welcome projects on a wide range of topics: material culture, religiolects and dialects, language documentation, Sanskrit literature, Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and religion, Classical Malayalam literature, Malayalam language and linguistics, temple theater and perfromance studies, and Jewish history in the Indian Ocean in premodern and early modern times.
Since 2018, I have been co-supervising a PhD project, Transcending Boundaries: Material Culture of Sacred Spaces in Premodern and Early Modern Kerala, South India, by Percy Arfeen, at the Center for Religious Studies (CERES), Ruhr University Bochum, under the auspices of DAAD: German Academic Exchange Service.
In 2020, I will be supervising a PhD project, Progressive Politics and Transformation in a Context of Climate Crisis: Kerala's Subaltern Communities as a Case Study, at the University of Glasgow, College of Arts, under the auspices of the Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellowship.
I teach Hinduism and Buddhism literature and philosophy, and an Honors course on religion and trade in premodern Asia, focusing on the Malabar Coast.
I convene a course on mysticism and spirituality, with a focus on theoretical and methodological approaches to the topic.
I teach Malayalam and Sanskrit and convene a Malayalam summer school (here)
Malayalam and Kerala’s Covid-19 Transformation: Some Thoughts during Lockdown, in ALA: Kerala Scholars Blog (April 2020) http://ala.keralascholars.org/issues/20/covid-and-malayalam/
I organised guest lectures and seminar talks in the Theology and Religious Studies research seminar series:
- Menashe Anzi (Be’er Sheva) - From Yemen to India and Back: Jewish Immigration and Knowledge Flows (February 2019)
- Mehrdad Shokoohy (London) – Mughal and Muslim Architecture in India (May 2019)
- Ines Weinrich (Münster) - Sounding the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad: Arabic Maulid Texts as Performative Devotion (November 2019)
- Azeez Tharuvana (Calicut) – Muslim Ramayanas (March 2019)
- Deepra Dandekar (Berlin) - Baba Padmanji and Vernacular Christianity in Nineteenth Century Maharashtra (March 2019)