Dr Jonathan Duquette

Department of Philosophy
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a scholar of South Asian religions and philosophies whose work concentrates primarily on the history of late medieval and early modern Sanskrit intellectual traditions in India. Trained initially as a physicist, I nourish an interest for the dialogue between natural sciences and religions as well as for recent developments in philosophy of science and comparative philosophy. I have published articles in Religions of South AsiaJournal of Indological StudiesNumenPhilosophy East and West and the Journal of Indian Philosophy (of which I am the Assistant Editor since 2017), and also contributed to the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia for Philosophy of Religion.


After completing a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of Montreal (2011), I was a postdoctoral researcher in Hamburg (2012-13), Leiden (2013-14), Kyoto (2014-15) and Oxford (2015-2019, as a Newton International Fellow and then Marie-Curie Fellow). In 2019, I became an Associated Researcher at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. I was also twice a visiting researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.


My research interests include Sanskrit intellectual history, classical Indian philosophy, philosophy of religion and early modern India. In recent years, I have published peer-reviewed articles on themes ranging from classical Indian epistemology and 'new logic' (navya-nyāya) in India, to the history of Śaiva religion in early modern South India. My last monograph, titled "Defending God in Sixteenth-Century India: The Saiva Oeuvre of Appaya Diksita" (Oxford Oriental Monographs series, OUP) documents the rise to prominence of Śivādvaita Vedānta, a school of philosophical theology that was single-handedly established by the celebrated 16th-century polymath Appaya Dīkṣita. The book is the first in-depth study of Appaya's influential oeuvre and of its reception in the wider political, cultural and intellectual milieu of the Vijayanagara empire. Based to a large extent on hitherto unstudied primary sources in Sanskrit, this study offers new insights into Appaya's intellectual life and the hermeneutical strategies he deployed to make his massive theological project a success in early modern India. In doing so, the book opens up new possibilities for our understanding of the complex relation between the world of Sanskrit literati and the wider socio-religious world in which they lived, wrote and debated during the last decades of the Vijayanagara empire.