Past President: Dr. Adéla Sandness is a specialist on the Hindu goddess Sarasvati in both classical Hindu and ancient Indian mythology and ritual. Her research in Vedic Studies is influenced by both the French school of Indology and the Moscow Tartu school of semiotics. Assistant Professor in St. Francis Xavier University’s Department of Religious Studies, Dr. Sandness has taught in the areas of Hinduism and Buddhism for over ten years at institutions which also include McGill University and the University of Regina.
Dr. Sandness received her doctorate in religious studies from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes of the Sorbonne (Paris) where she held a fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her dissertation on Sarasvati in the Rg-Veda explores early, classical and contemporary perceptions of the nature of this goddess. It also addresses such related themes as the Indian cosmology, the body, gender, the environment, creation, poetry, and sacrifice. Her previous research includes work on the classical Hindu goddess Durga as well as study of contemporary Hindu/Muslim relations in India.
Dr. Sandness has also conducted research on traditional practices in Montreal’s South Asian community. In addition to preparing French and English publications regarding her work on Sarasvati, Dr. Sandness is currently translating for publication a series of key works from French Indological tradition. Dr. Sandness has received invitations to speak at the XI and XIIth World Sanskrit Conferences, the third International Vedic Workshop, and the XXVIth International Congress of Asian and North African Studies.
She is presently member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Studies in Religion, journal of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion. She has served on the boards of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion and the Société Québecoise pour l’Étude de la Réligion. She is a member of the Société Asiatique (Paris) as well as the American Oriental Society and the International Association for Sanskrit Studies; she is a life-member of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Pune). Dr. Sandness is a collaborator with Canadian composer Michael Oesterle on the creation of an opera about the goddess Sarasvati which will be produced in Toronto. She has been interviewed on Canadian Tamil and Hindu radio stations and is often asked to speak about Sarasvati, and other aspects of Hindu mythology, to members of the Canadian Hindu community.
Department of Religious Studies. St. Francis Xavier University
P.O. Box 5000