Dr. Keith Edward Cantú comes to St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Religious Studies, with an expertise in the religions of South Asia. He previously was a postdoctoral fellow at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (www.cas-e.de) in Germany and at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. He has taught numerous courses as a teaching assistant at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he received his doctoral degree in 2021 under the supervision of David Gordon White, and as a lecturer online with the platform Yogic Studies. His research especially focuses on yoga, tantra, esotericism, and the interface between Sanskrit and Indic vernaculars like Bengali, Tamil, and Hindi. His book on the Śaiva yoga and global importance of the Tamil author Sri Sabhapati Swami, entitled Like a Tree Universally Spread: Sri Sabhapati Swami and Śivarājayoga, is published by Oxford University Press. He is the author of numerous chapters and articles on a wide array of subjects, including on topics as varied as alchemical mythology at Srisailam, yoga and cultural authenticity, the practice of yoga in modern religious movements like Theosophy and Thelema, and the Bāuls of Bengal. Keith is also co-editor of City of Mirrors: Songs of Lālan Sā̃i, published in 2017 with OUP's South Asia Research series.
Also a musician, Keith regularly performs the esoteric Baul songs of the nineteenth-century Bengali poet Lalon Fakir, which he learned directly from sadhus and fakirs in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, and regularly co-teaches a course on Tantric meditation and music at the Esalen Institute near Big Sur, California.