In Memoriam: Anne E. Monius, 1964-2019

Anne E. Monius, professor of South Asian religions at Harvard Divinity School, passed away on August 3, 2019. She was 55 years old.

Dr. Monius began her 17-year career at Harvard in 2002 as an assistant professor of South Asian religions. She was granted tenure two years later and named to a full professorship. From 2013 to 2014, she served as acting director of Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions. Earlier in her career, Dr. Monius spent five years teaching in the department of religious studies at the University of Virginia.

As an academic, Dr. Monius specialized in the religious traditions of India. Her research focused on the practices and products of literary culture to reconstruct the history of religions in South Asia. She had a particular interest in the Tamil culture of southern India, which led her to write Imagining a Place for Buddhism: Literary Culture and Religious Community in Tamil-Speaking South India (Oxford University Press, 2001), an examination of the two extant Buddhist texts composed in Tamil. At the time of her death, she was working on an upcoming book, Singing the Lives of Siva’s Saints: History, Aesthetics, and Religious Identity in Tamil-speaking South India, which examined the formation of Saiva identity in the medieval period of Tamil Nadu.

“Formidably intelligent and rigorous as a scholar, infectiously curious and eclectic in her interests, and exemplary in her teaching and mentoring of students, it is hard to imagine HDS without Anne Monius,” said David N. Hempton, dean of Harvard Divinity School. “Her laughter, zest for life, and courage in the face of adversity were inspirational, as were her unfailing messages of gratitude. Everyone at HDS grieves with her family, the community of scholars across the world, and her beloved students, past and present. We will miss her more than words can convey, but we will not forget her values nor her impact on our lives.”

Dr. Monius was a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard University. She earned her Ph.D. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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