Katherine C. Zubko, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Religious Studies
139 Zageir Hall

Spring 2018: On Professional Development Leave

I moved to Asheville in 2009 to begin teaching Asian Religions at UNC Asheville, after teaching courses at UNC Greensboro and Northern Arizona University. My dissertation, Embodying Bhakti Rasa: Dancing Across Religious Boundaries in Bharata Natyam, involved research into a traditionally Hindu storytelling dance tradition that is currently being adapted to tell stories from Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and Jain traditions. While living in India for two years, I took dance classes as part of my methodology. I like to bring embodied learning into the classroom, and enjoy talking about India to anyone!


  • Ph.D. Emory University, 2008 (West and South Asian Religions)
  • M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School, 1999
  • B.A. Northern Arizona University, 1996 (Religious Studies)

Courses Taught

  • RELS 178 Pilgrimage: Religious Road Trips
  • RELS 200 Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • RELS 280 DI: ARTS: Asian Religious Traditions
  • RELS 326 ARTS: Religion and Dance in South Asia
  • RELS 330 WGSS: Religion and Gender
  • RELS 373 Religion and Business in Asia
  • RELS 373 Religions of East Asia
  • RELS 381 DI: Religions of South Asia
  • RELS 386 DI: Buddhism
  • RELS 398 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
  • RELS 490 Senior Capstone
  • RELS 492 Senior Seminar: Religion and Food
  • HUM 124 Ancient World

Professional Interests

Religions of Asia; Performance, Ethnography and Ritual Studies; Body; Gender; Conflict Transformation; Business and Culture in Asia

Recent Publications and Presentations

  • "Hindu Traditions: Controlling and Embracing Desire,” Embodied Religion, edited by Kent Brintnall. New York: Macmillan Interdisciplinary Series, 2016: 37-54.
  • Dancing Bodies of Devotion: Fluid Gestures in Bharata Natyam. Lexington, 2014.
  • "Dancing the Bhagavadgita: Embodiment as Commentary." Journal of Hindu Studies 7:3 (2014): 392-417.
  • Inside the Indian Business Mind: A Tactical Guide for Managers.  Co-authored with Raj R. Sahay.  Praeger, 2010.
  • “Body.”  Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Volume II.  Leiden: Brill, 2010.
  • “Traversing Bodies: The Aesthetics of Boundary Crossing in Bharata Natyam,” Conference for the Study of Religion in India, Maryville, TN, September 2008
  • “Being Body-wise: Kinesthetic Lessons in Conflict Transformation,” Professional Workshop for Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding Initiative, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, November 2007.
  • “Embodying Bhakti Rasa in Bharata Natyam: An Indian-Christian Interpretation of Gayatri Mantra through Dance.”  Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies 19 (2006): 37-44.