Skip to Main Content

Loriliai Biernacki

Loriliai Biernacki grew up in the deep rural South, in Louisiana , imbibing the hot humid summers full of lazy afternoons swimming in the creeks amidst the local alligators. How she made it to study on the East coast is a wonder, since neither she, nor anyone she knew, actually realized that it was possible to go to any other college than LSU or Southeastern University in Hammond, Louisiana until her senior year in high school when a mysterious recruiter for Princeton offered her the opportunity to skip out on a math test. She received her Bachelor's degree in English from Princeton University, where she studied creative writing, with an emphasis in poetry. She still enjoys poetry and once received honorable mention in a national poetry contest for a poem on her 007 "shaken not stirred" take on Indian philosophy, titled "Dvaita." Emboldened by the relish of Indian food, with such a wondrous plethora of vegetarian variety, her PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania brought her to new and foreign shores as she studied the 11th century Indian Tantric thinker Abhinavagupta. 
 Apart from her study of Indian religions with an emphasis on Tantra, her research interests include gender, critical theory and ethics. Her first book, Renowned Goddess of Desire: Women, Sex and Speech in Tantra (Oxford , 2007), incorporates these interests in gender and critical theory. Her favorite superhero is Max Guevara, that is, after Che Guevara. She hopes one day to penetrate Abhinavagupta's arcane philosophy well enough to get a clue about the fabulous siddhis Tantra promises. She is currently working as co-editor for a volume addressing Panentheism across the spectrum of the world's religious traditions. She is also working on understanding the body in Tantric thought, especially in connection with ideas of the body in the 21st century.

Associate Professor and Undergraduate Advisor for Spring 2008, (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) teaches and researches the religious traditions of India, especially including Hinduism, Tantra and the 11th century Indian philosopher Abhinavagupta. Her research interests particularly address issues of gender and critical theory. Her research also deals with contemporary representations of Hinduism, including Hindu diaspora movements and Hindu syncretist movements in the U.S. She is the author of Renowned Goddess of Desire: Women, Sex and Speech in Tantra, (Oxford, 2007). Currently she is working on translating a philosophical text by Abhinavagupta.