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Loriliai Biernacki

University of Colorado, Religious Studies
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Loriliai Biernacki (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research interests include Hinduism, the interface between religion and science, and gender. Her first book, Renowned Goddess of Desire: Women, Sex and Speech in Tantra (Oxford, 2007) won the Kayden Award in 2008. She is co-editor of God’s Body: Panentheism across World Religions coming out with Oxford University Press in 2013. She is currently working on a study of the 11th century Indian philosopher Abhinavagupta that addresses notions of selfhood, body and cosmology. She is also currently working on the interstices between religion, science and panentheism. 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 take on Indian philosophy, titled "Dvaita." Emboldened by the relish of Indian food, with such a wondrous plethora of vegetarian variety, her Ph.D. 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 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 deeply engaged in Abhinavagupta’s ideas of cosmology and the body with a study and translation of one of his as yet untranslated texts.