Prof. David Gordon White

David Gordon White received his Ph.D. (with Honors) from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago in 1988. He also studied Hinduism at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, France, between 1977-1980 and 1985-1986. A specialist of South Asian religions, he is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he taught from 1996 to 2021. Prior to coming to Santa Barbara, he taught at the University of Virginia between 1986 and 1996. There, he founded the University of Virginia Study Abroad Program in Jodhpur, India in 1994. White is the sole non-European member of the Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud in Paris, France, where he has been an active Research Fellow since 1992.

He is the author of six monographs, five published by the University of Chicago Press: Myths of the Dog-Man (1991); The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India (1996); Kiss of the Yoginī: “Tantric Sex” in its South Asian Contexts (2003); Sinister Yogis (2009); and Dæmons Are Forever: Contacts and Exchanges in the Eurasian Pandemonium (2021). He also the author of The Yoga Sutra of Patañjali: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2013), and editor, at the same press, of Tantra in Practice (2000) and Yoga in Practice (2012). Myths of the Dog-Man was listed as one of the “Books of the Year” in the 1991 Times Literary Supplement’s end-of-year edition; Kiss of the Yoginī was on the cover of the same journal’s May 20, 2004 edition. Sinister Yogis received an honorable mention at the 2009 PROSE awards and was listed as a book of note by CHOICE in 2011. A Japanese edition of Myths of the Dog-Man was brought out by Kousakusha in 2001; Italian (Edizioni Mediteranee) and Indian (Munshiram Manoharlal) editions of The Alchemical Body appeared in 2004. A Russian edition is forthcoming.

White has been the recipient of several research fellowships and grants, including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2007-2008), an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2016), and three Fulbright Research Fellowships for India and Nepal. A panel to honor his scholarship was part of the program of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, held at Chicago on November 1, 2008.

Listen to an interview with David Gordon White on ‘Historical, Popular, and Scholarly Constructions of Yoga’ here.

Find information on Prof. White’s yoga-related lectures available online here.

A CV and full list of David Gordon White’s publications can be found here.

His academia page can be found here.

Selected Publications


  1. Dæmons Are Forever: Contacts and Exchanges in the Eurasian Pandemonium, University of Chicago Press.
  2. The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali: A Biography, Princeton University Press.
  3. Sinister Yogis, University of Chicago Press.
  4. Kiss of the Yoginī: “Tantric Sex” in its South Asian Contexts,University of Chicago Press.
  5. The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India,University of Chicago Press. Italian edition: Edizioni Mediterranee, 2004; Indian edition: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2004.
  6. Myths of the Dog-Man,University of Chicago Press.  Japanese edition: Tokyo: Kousakusha, 2001.

Edited volumes:

  1. Yoga in Practice,Princeton University Press.
  2. Tantra in Practice,Princeton University Press. Indian edition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2001.

Articles and chapters:

“Yoga, The One and the Many,” In David M. Odorisio., ed., Merton and Hinduism: The Yoga of the Heart (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2021), pp. 10-39.

“Yoga in Transformation,” in Debra Diamond, ed., Yoga, The Art of Transformation (Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution, 2013), pp. 35-45. French translation, “Le yoga en transformation,” in Yoga, l’art de la transformation. 2500 ans d’histoire du yoga (Paris: Editions La Plage), pp. 35-45.