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Research Students at the RUG

Research Students at the University of Groningen


Giacomo Baggio is a PhD student of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. He obtained MA in Oriental Languages and Civilizations at the Ca’Foscari University of Venice with a thesis entitled A debate on Emptiness in IV century China: Sengzhao’s treatise Emptiness of the Non-absolute which provided a comprehensive discussion of the Chinese Prajñā schools and an annotated translation of the treatise Emptiness of the Non-absolute by Sengzhao with Yuankang’s Tang dynasty commentary. He did two years of postgraduate studies at the Shandong University of Jinan and the Nanjing University attending courses on Chinese Buddhist Philology and on the Warring-States period philosophical traditions. He earned his second Master’s Degree in Chinese Philosophy at the Furen University of Taiwan with a thesis investigating the composition of the Zhuangzi and the conception of “humanity and justice” in four of its chapters, previously identified as a consistent corpus ascribable to a single author or single philosophical tradition. He then moved back to mainland China and lived for nearly four years in Zhejiang Province working as Chinese translator and teaching Chinese Translation, Italian Grammar, Reading and Comprehension of Selected Italian Texts etc. at the Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages. His phd research focuses on Medieval Chinese Buddhist texts and examines the complex interaction between the new philosophical conceptions introduced in China by the Prajñāpāramitā literature and the official Chinese philosophy of the time, known as “Dark Learning”. Contact:


Lucas den Boer is a PhD student at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS). He holds a M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Groningen. His interests centre on the history of Indian philosophy, with a special focus on Jaina philosophy. His doctoral research on the development of Jaina epistemology during the Gupta age is part of the ERC project ‘Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State’, hosted by the British Museum, the British Library, and SOAS, University of London. He holds an ancillary position as lecturer in Asian philosophies at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen. Contact:

N. Bosma

Natasja Bosma (MA) is a PhD student at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. Her research focuses on a historical region in India as a centre of early Śaivism. Daksina Kosala is an ancient name of the region comprising the modern province Chhattisgarh and the districts Sambalpur, Balangir and Kalahandi of Orissa. Epigraphical evidence, supported by archaeological remains, has shown that the Daksina Kosala region was a rich centre of early Śaivism. The earliest monuments in Tālā and Malhār testify the presence of Śaivism by the turn of the fifth century CE. Slightly later, at the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh century CE, the region was under the control of king Śivagupta ‘Bālārjuna’ of the Pāndava dynasty of Śrīpura (modern Sirpur). From his records it becomes clear that this king was a great patron of religion, and of Śaivism in particular. Among the inscriptions pertaining to Śaivism, eleven report on and relate to the construction of a Śiva temple established by the king himself (svakārita) and the transformation of this temple into a great centre of early Śaivism (to be precise, the Śaiva Siddhānta and Soma Siddhānta traditions). The remnants of this temple complex as well as many other archaeological traces of his sponsorship are still to be seen in Sirpur, which is truly a ‘city of temples’. Contact:


Iis Istiqomah is a PhD student of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. The title of her PhD project is “The Hadrami Arabs of Ambon: An ethnographic study of diasporic identity construction in everyday life practices.” Ambon is one of the main destinations in the eastern part of Indonesia where the Hadrami migrants searched for fortune and established a community. The history of the Hadrami migration especially to Indonesia from the late eighteenth until the beginning of the twentieth century is often regarded as a success story in in social, economic, political, and religious terms, both with reference to their homeland and to their host-societies. The main contributive factors to their success are their preservation of a distinct cultural identity and their shared religion with the majority of the Indonesian population. These factors enabled them not only to develop transnational networks but also to integrate themselves into their host-societies. In this regard, the aim of this research is to study the interplay between ethnicity and religion in the construction of identity and in the social integration of present-day descendants of Hadrami Arab migrants to Ambon. The research is thus to understand how ethnicity and religion intersect in the individual and collective construction of identity of present-day Hadrami Arab descendants in Ambon and how this relates to their positions in Ambonese socio-economic, political and religious power constellations. Contact:


Xuan Luo earned a Master in Education in Religious Studies at Institute of Religious Studies of Sichuan University, P.R.China, with a thesis on the shifting conceptions, functions, and moral orientations of Taoist immortal divinities from Medieval era to the early Modern period, in negotiations with Buddhism, Confucianism, and folk religions in the secularisation process. She also participated in the translation & research project on The Taoist Canon: A Historical Campanion to the Daozang (2005) by Kristofer Schipper. At the University of Groningen Xuan studied in the program Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism as Erasmus Mundus exchange student during 2012-2013, and is now a Research Master student whose thesis addresses the religious powers ascribed to names and their ritual functions. Contact:

Jing Jing

Jing Jing is a PhD student at Peking University (PRC), currently majoring in political science with a focus on political thought and intellectual history in pre-modern China. What really interests her is the relationship between religion and politics in pre-modern China, which she regards as crucial for understanding traditional Chinese society. Jing is now doing research on the period of Northern and Southern Dynasties, a time when there was a remarkable tension between secular regime and Buddhists in terms of both alliance and conflict. She aims to assess how Buddhism was accepted and recognized as lawful by Chinese official authorities. Jing will be an Erasmus Mundus exchange student during the academic year 2015-2016 at the University of Groningen; during her stay in Groningen Jing will investigate issues of religion and politics by looking specifically to the Hongmingji of Sengyou.  Contact:


Garima Raghuvanshy is a MA student at the Faulty of Theology and Religious Studies. Her foray into religious studies began while she was still pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Mumbai, during which time she wrote a research paper regarding colonial scholarship on the Mahabharata. By tracing the development and trends in this discourse, she linked this academic tradition to the self-perception of Hindus in Contemporary India, how the former has affected the latter, and its role in the formation and rhetoric of the Hindu Right. As a student at the University of Groningen she plans to research religious conversion in the contemporary Indian context – what the term means to the several actors involved directly and indirectly in the process, and what role the issue plays in the rhetoric of identity politics in India. Her research interests, on the whole, are inclined towards the interaction of religion, politics and violence in India. Contact:


Lea Schulte-Droesch (MA) is PhD student in the Department Comparative Study of Religion. Her research focuses on the Santal, one of the largest tribal societies of Middle India and on their practice of making place through ritual. Based on long term ethnographic fieldwork in Jharkhand the project aims to show how different rituals reveal and continuously recreate peoples’ perceptions of place. Through this approach different aspects of Santal cosmology will be explored, showing that ideas of place are entangled with religion, kinship and politics. Contact:

Li Gang

Li Gang obtained a degree of Master in law (jurisprudence) at Xinjiang University, P.R. China, with a thesis on “The Deconstruction of the Post-modern Theory to Gendered Law: from the perspective of the development of the concept of gender in feminist jurisprudence”, which investigated the historical development of the relationship between gender and law since the emergence of feminist jurisprudence and then further, by challenging the male patriarchy coherent to rationalism, see how the concept of gender from a post-modern perspective could shed light on the justice and equal treatment of law. He got his second MA in Studies on European Union and Central Asia in the International System at Centre International de Formation Europeenne, Institut für Europäische Politik in Germany, with a thesis on “A Constitutional Approach of the Building of European Identity: On Habermas’ post-national collective identity building theory” which dealt with Habermas’ collective identity building theory in the politically as well as a culturally diversified EU context. He is currently doing a double-PhD with the University of Groningen and Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, focusing on the issue of the relationship between Islamic law as living law with state/official law in China both in the historical and contemporary context to see how Islam represented by its norms (Shari’a) has been interacting with Chinese state/official law and how these interactions influence and contribute to the constructing of Chinese tradition which is the precondition of future building of the rule of law and democracy in China. Contact emails: ;

Laatst gewijzigd:25 april 2017 10:25