Short bio

Birgit Kellner studied Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Japanology, Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Vienna (1987–1994) and completed her PhD in Indian Philosophy at the University of Hiroshima in 1999.

She conducted several post-doctoral research projects funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF at the University of Vienna from 1999 to 2009, received a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to conduct research at the University of Hamburg from 2002 to 2003, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2008. She was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Vienna in 2009.

Soon thereafter, she was appointed Professor for Buddhist Studies and Principal Investigator at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in the Global Context" of the University of Heidelberg (W-3) (2010–15). Since 2015 she has served as Director of the IKGA at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She also has served as Principal Investigator in the FWF special research area "Visions of Community – Comparative Approaches to Ethnicity, Region and Empire in Christianity, Islam and Buddhism (400–1600 CE)" from 2016 to 2019, and is currently directing the FWF project "Rationality, Meditation and Liberation in Indian Buddhism" (2019–23).

Birgit Kellner is Adjunct Professor at the University of Heidelberg, Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and Vice President of the International Association of Buddhist Studies.


  • Tibetan and Buddhist Studies; South Asian Studies
  • History of Buddhist philosophy and its literature in India and Tibet (special focus: logic and epistemology, Madhyamaka, Yogācāra; theories of negation, theories and conceptions of consciousness, philosophy of mind)
  • Indian Philosophy (literature, terminology, history, debates) on the basis of original-language sources in Sanskrit
  • Codicology and palaeography of Sanskrit
  • Digital Humanities
  • Transcultural Studies (Histories of entanglement, cultural transfer, knowledge transfer)

Academic service

  • Board Member, International Association of Buddhist Studies;
  • Member of CIRDIS (Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History, University of Vienna), member of the Association for Tibetan and Budhist Studies, University of Vienna;
  • Member of various international editorial boards and review boards;
  • Co-editor Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (2006–2014);
  • Active as reviewer for international journals and academic publishing houses, as well as research funding organizations (e.g. DFG, SNF, Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften);
  • Member of several committees of the Austrian Academy of Sciences;
  • Editor of several monograph series in the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press (e.g. Beiträge zur Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, Sanskrit Texts from the Tibetan Autonomous Region).

Selected publications

  • together with Pascale Hugon (eds.): "Rethinking Scholastic Communities." medieval worlds, comparative & interdisciplinary studies 12 (2020), 2-120.
  • “Proofs of Idealism in Buddhist Epistemology : Dharmakīrti’s Refutation of External Objects”. In: Jorg Tuske (ed.): Indian Epistemology and Metaphysics. London, etc. 2017: Bloomsbury Academic, 102-128.
  • together with John Taber: “Studies in Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda Idealism I: The Interpretation of Vasubandhu’s Viṃśikā”. Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 68/3 (2014), 709-756.
  • “Self-Awareness (svasaṃvedana) in Dignāga’s Pramāṇasamuccaya and -vṛtti: a Close Reading”. In: Birgit Kellner (ed.): Buddhist Theories of Self-Awareness (svasaṃvedana): Interpretations and Critiques = Journal of Indian Philosophy 38/3 (2010), 203-231.
  • “Towards a Critical Edition of Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika”. In: Jürgen Hanneder, Philipp A. Maas (ed.): Text Genealogy, Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens 52 (2009 [2010]), 161-211.
  • “Buddhistische Theorien des Geistes – Intentionalität und Selbstbewusstsein”. In: Birgit Kellner, Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik (ed.): Denkt Asien anders? Göttingen 2009: V & R unipress, 55-75.
  • Jñānaśrīmitra’s Anupalabdhirahasya and Sarvaśabdābhāvacarcā. An Annotated Critical Edition. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 67. Wien: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien 2007.
  • Nichts bleibt nichts. Die buddhistische Zurückweisung von Kumārilas abhāvapramāṇa. Übersetzung und Interpretation von Śāntarakṣitas Tattvasaṅgraha vv. 1647-1690 mit Kamalaśīlas Tattvasaṅgrahapañjikā sowie Ansätze und Arbeitshypothesen zur Geschichte negativer Erkenntnis in der indischen Philosophie. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 39. Wien: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien 1997.