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Brian Collins

Dr. Brian Collins, portrait
Professor, Chair, & Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy
Ellis 234

Ohio University faculty member since 2013.


University of Chicago, Ph.D. in History of Religions (2010); University of Chicago, M.A. in History of Religions (2003); North Carolina State University, B.A. in Religious Studies and B.A. in Psychology, (2001)


  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Comparative Mythology
  • Intellectual History of Religious Studies
  • Religion, the Paranormal, and the Occult

Courses Taught

  • CARS 2400 Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • CARS 2410 The Global Occult: Ghosts, Demonology, and the Paranormal in World Religions
  • CARS 2430 The History of Yoga: From Ancient Discipline to Modern Movement
  • CARS 3100 Hinduism
  • CARS 3110 Buddhism
  • CARS 3130 Indian Epic: Mahābhārata and Rāmayāṇa
  • CARS 3260 Myth, Ritual, and Symbolism
  • CARS 4000 Magic, Sorcery and Witchcraft in Classical Civilizations and the World's Religions
  • CARS 4900 Religious Traditions of India (Study Abroad Course)

Selected Publications

Of Demons and Disciplines: Old Thiess, a Livonian Werewolf: A Classic Case in Comparative Perspective by Carlo Ginzburg and Bruce Lincoln and Daemons Are Forever: Contacts and Exchanges in the Eurasian Pandemonium by David Gordon White.” Religious Studies Review Vol. 47, No.1 (Mar. 2021).

The Ambopākhyāna Reconsidered: Reading Ambā’s Story as Part of the Rāma Jāmadagnya Myth Cycle.” In Visions and Revisions. Edited by Raj Balkaran and McComas Taylor. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2023.

“Paraśurāma, Droṇa, and Aśvatthāman: A Comparative Study of Brahmin Warriors in the Mahābhārata.” In NOMEN NVMEN: Espressioni del sacro tra storia delle religioni, linguistica e archeologia, Atti del convegno Università degli Studi della Campania “Vanvitelli”, Santa Maria Capua Vetere – 15-16 Aprile 2019. Edited by Marcello do Martino and Claudia Santi, 177-192. Lugano: Agora & Co, 2021

“Myth.” In The Encyclopedia of Religious Ethics: Volume 1-Moral Inquiry. Edited by William Schweiker, Maria Antonaccio, Elizabeth Bucar, and David Clairmont. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2022.

“Monsters, Masala, and Materiality: Close Encounters with Hindi Horror Movie Ephemera.” In Bollywood Horrors: Religion, Violence, and Cinematic Fears in India. Edited by Ellen Goldberg, Aditi Sen, and Brian Collins, 21-43. London: Bloomsbury Academic 2021.

“Vampire Man Varma: The Untold Story of the ‘Hindu Mystic’ Who Decolonized Dracula.” In Bollywood Horrors: Religion, Violence, and Cinematic Fears in India. Edited by Ellen Goldberg, Aditi Sen, and Brian Collins, 44-65. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021.

The Other Rāma: Matricide and Genocide in the Mythology of Paraśurāma. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2020.

“A Very Square Peg: A Podcast About Austrian Polymath Robert Eisler.” Podcast. June 2020. New Books Network.

The Magic of the Combinatory Mind: The Forgotten Life of 20th Century Austrian Polymath Robert Eisler. London: Palgrave Pivot, 2020.

“Un pezzo troppo quadrato: la vita e l’opera di Robert Eisler” [“A Very Square Peg: The Life and Work of Robert Eisler”]. In Uomo diventa lupo: un’interpretazione antropologica di sadism, masochismo e licantropia [Man into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism, and Lycanthropy] by Robert Eisler, 323-391. Translated by Raul Montanari. Milan: Adelphi Edizioni, 2019.

With Kristen Tobey. “From Middlemarch to The Da Vinci Code: Portrayals of Religious Studies in Popular Culture.” Religious Studies Review Vol. 44, No. 2 (Jun. 2018), 173-182.

“By Post or by Ghost: Ruminations on Visions and Epistolary Archives.” Jewish Quarterly Review Vol. 107, No. 3 (Summer 2017), 393-404.

“The Eastern Revolution: From the Vedas to Buddhism, Jainism, and the Upanishads.” In The Handbook of Mimetic Theory and Religion. Edited by James Alison and Wolfgang Palaver, 111-117. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.

“Burning Desires, Burning Corpses: Girardian Reflections on Fire in Hinduism and Buddhism.” In René Girard and World Religions. Edited by Wolfgang Palaver and Richard Schenk, 303-317. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2017.

The Head Beneath the Altar: Hindu Mythology and the Critique of Sacrifice. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2014.