Welcome to my website.  Thank you for choosing to get to know me better.

                I am an Associate Professor in St. Francis Xavier University's Department of Religious Studies and Adjunct Professor at St. Mary’s University in Halifax.  During the 2012-2013 academic year, I will be teaching RELS 110:  Introduction to World Religions, RELS 310:  Religion in Modern India, and RELS 315/WMGS397:  Gender in Hinduism and Buddhism.  I also teach several other courses relating to ancient Indian, Hindu and Buddhist traditions, including a class taught on-site at the Buddhist monastery called Gampo Abbey, associated with Ani Pema Chodron in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  I have twice been nominated for St. Francis Xavier University’s Outstanding Teaching Award.  You can find some students’ comments on my teaching here.

            My research is related to the goddess Sarasvati in Vedic, Hindu and Buddhist traditions.  I work especially in the area of Vedic myth and ritual and, in particular, on the Rg-Veda.  My research is influenced by both the French school of Indology and the Moscow Tartu school of semiotics.   I hold a doctorate (summa cum laude) in religious studies from the  École Pratique des Hautes Études, of the Sorbonne in Paris where I held a fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.   My research explores such themes as the body, gender, sacred cosmology, creation, poetry, the poet, sacrifice, and sacrificial offering substances including the food elements water, butter, milk, honey and the sacred beverage of the Vedic visionaries, sóma.  I have also done work on the classical Hindu goddess Durga, study of Hindu/Muslim relations in contemporary India, and study of Montreal's South Asian community. 

            I presently serve as Vice-President of the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion.  I am a member of the Société Asiatique (Paris) and the International Association of Sanskrit Studies; I am a life member of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Pune).  I serve actively in the Nova Scotia-based Shambhala Buddhist community.  I enjoy nature photography and exploring “Canada’s ocean playground” along with my golden retriever, Sarah.


Nicholson Tower Room 405

Office hours:  Tuesdays 11:00-1:00, Thursdays 9:30-11:30 first semester,

9:30-1:00 second semester

and by appointment

email: asandnes@stfx.ca

tel: 902-867-5078