John Nemec

John Nemec

Associate Professor

Gibson Hall, S-354


  • BA, University of Rochester
  • MA, University of California System : Santa Barbara
  • MPhil, University of Oxford
  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

  • Sanskrit, Indian Philosophy, Tantra, Religion and Politics

My research centers on Indian intellectual and cultural history, particularly the philosophy and literature of the Kashmir Valley of the ninth to twelfth centuries, a period of great literary and cultural production, when the Valley was perhaps the most important intellectual center of South Asia. My areas of specialization are Tantric (i.e., Indian Esoteric) Studies, Sanskrit, and South Asian Religions.

My first two books examine the philosophy of one Somānanda, a Kashmiri, high-caste Brahmin of the tenth century, whose magnum opus, the Śivadṛṣṭi, sought to articulate a public defense of an esoteric, tantric tradition. The work is notable for its distinguished legacy: it is the first work of the influential Pratyabhijñā (or “Recognition”) School, which quickly developed a pan-Indian following and culminated in the philosophical writings of Somānanda’s great-grand-disciple, the colossally influential, late tenth- and early eleventh-century polymath, Abhinavagupta.

My current work is focused on an examination of the larger intellectual and cultural context of Kashmir in the same period.

A full CV and .pdf copies of selected publications may be found on my page at