Nika Kuchuk is a doctoral candidate at the Department for the Study of Religion, also affiliated with the Centre for South Asian Studies. She holds a BA Honours in Psychology and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa.
Her current dissertation research explores particular moments of the East-West dialogue within late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries transnational religion, focusing specifically on the work and thought of two female gurus, Helena Blavatsky of Theosophy and Mirra Alfassa of Integral Yoga (better known as the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s collaborator). Using translation theory as its main investigative lens, this project looks at the discursive technologies that frame the women’s claims to knowledge, unpacking, in the process, the ways they both simultaneously drew upon and contributed to transnational networks of modern Vedanta and Buddhist Modernism. Broadly speaking, this project is interested in exploring the intellectual genealogies of global transnational religion, as well as considering the greater implications of the synthetic, universalist ethical and spiritual visions of movements such as Theosophy and Integral Yoga, which continue to inform contemporary spirituality and politics in various ways.