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Jef manages Penn’s South Asian Studies collection, including materials in Indic and European languages. Additionally, he collaborates with faculty on acquisitions and curriculum development, offers reference support to students, and works on special initiatives such as digitization projects and community outreach.

Jef obtained his PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia in 2016. His scholarly research focuses on issues of gender in mythological narrative, with particular attention to the rise of the feminine divine in premodern Sanskrit literature. His dissertation, which he’s currently preparing for publication, offers a translation of the Devīpurāṇa combined with intra- and intertextual analyses of its primary narrative arcs.

Prior to joining Penn libraries, Jef taught courses on South Asian religions at Middlebury College, the University of Virginia, and the University of Mary Washington. He also ran study abroad programs for the State Department’s CLS Bangla Program in Kolkata as well as Davidson College’s Semester in India. Drawing from this background, he collaborates with Penn’s South Asia Center to provide research instruction and enrich international programs.

Jef Pierce

Pronouns: He, him, his