Keith E. Cantú is a doctoral student in Religious Studies (concentration in South Asian religions with an additional emphasis in European medieval studies).
His dissertation research, supervised by David Gordon White, is focused on the nineteenth-century Tamil Śaiva yogī Śrī Sabhāpati Swāmī (b. 1840), especially how his cognitive practices share historical affinities with other early modern and medieval yogic, tantric, and alchemical traditions. He also is researching Śrīśa Candra Basu (or Vasu), a Bengali intellectual living in Lahore who was Sabhāpati Swāmī’s initial editor as well as the editor of early Sanskrit publications of texts on both Haṭhayoga and Hinduism more generally. Apart from yet intersecting with this material, Keith has a keen personal and academic interest in the writings of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), the Theosophical Society, and alternative religious movements more broadly.
Recent publishing experience includes co-editing a compilation of Bengali Bāul songs entitled City of Mirrors: Songs of Lālan Sā̃i, published by Oxford University Press (South Asia Research series). This large work spanning over 600 pages features numerous translations and annotations made by the late Carol Salomon, and is the first major academic publication on the nineteenth-century poet Fakir Lālan Sāi. Keith has also published four articles in the Bengali language in the journal Bhabnagar, as well well as his MA Thesis (completed at the University of Washington) entitled Theurgy and the Snake: The Yoga Kalandar and Bengali Sufism. Currently he is working with a colleague on a new annotated edition of Śrī Sabhāpati Swāmī’s OM: A Treatise on Vedanta and Raja Yoga, first published in 1880.
Keith has had the honor of being a Teaching Assistant for four courses in the Religious Studies department so far: Zen Buddhism, Religious Approaches to Death, Gods and Goddesses of India, and Islam and the West: 750-1850, and looks forward to future teaching opportunities in the department. He is currently a TA for the Department of Global Studies course Global Culture and Ethics.