I joined the Open University as a Lecturer in late 2016 and have helped with the production of A227: Exploring Religion, chaired A332: Why is Religion Controversial? and am writing course materials for A111: Discovering the Arts and Humanities.

I also have extensive experience in Sociology of Religion specializing in new and minority religious movements in contemporary Britain. I have a specialty in movements originating in, or inspired by South Asian religious beliefs and the overlaps between religious beliefs and health care practices. I also have a long-term interest in millenarianism and apocalyptic groups and conducted in-depth research at Inform concerning millennial expectations of 2012.


Religion became a formal focus of study while I was an undergraduate at Amherst College in Massachusetts alongside interests in Russian literature and American history. As an undergraduate I spent a year at SOAS in London where I was inspired by the varieties of religious life in the multicultural city. In order to explore living religion further, I enrolled in an MSc in Religion in Contemporary Society in the Sociology Department of the London School of Economics. I completed my PhD in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge where I collaborated with colleagues in the Faculty of Divinity and the interdisciplinary Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). From 2002-2016, I worked for Professor Eileen Barker at Inform, a registered charity based at the LSE that researches and provides information on new and minority religions and spiritualities using social scientific methodology.

Other Publications

(2018). ‘Spaces of Yoga – Towards a Non-Essentialist Understanding of Yoga.’ In: Baier, Karl; Maas, Philipp André and Preisendanz, Karin eds. Yoga in Transformation: Historical and Contemporary Perspective. Wiener Forum für Theologie und Religionswissenschaft. Göttingen: V&R University Press, 551-573.

(2018) ‘Connecting the Threads: The Convergence of Yoga and Ayurveda from 1900 to the present’ Interactive Timeline. AYURYOG. http://ayuryog.org/timeline
For more detail see: http://ayuryog.org/blog/connecting-threads-convergence-yoga-and-ayurveda-1900-present

(2017) Guest Editor for Special Issue of Religions of South Asia: Yoga Darśana, Yoga Sādhana: traditions, transmissions and transformations with Matylda Ciołkosz. Vol. 11: 2-3. Editorial available here.

(2017) ‘Yogis, Ayurveda and Kayakalpa– The Rejuvenation of Pandit Malaviya’ History of Science in South Asia 5(2): 85-120. DOI: 10.18732/hssa.v5i2.29

(2017) with Dagmar Wutastyk and Christèle Barois History of Science in South Asia 5(2) Special Issue on “Rejuvenation, Longevity, and Immortality Practices in South and Inner Asia.”

(2017) ‘The Revival of Yoga in Contemporary India’ In: Barton, John ed. Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.253.

Blog Posts


    I am currently working half-time on a project funded by the European Research Council (Horizon 2020) entitled ‘Medicine, Immortality and Moksha: Entangled Histories of Yoga, Ayurveda and Alchemy in South Asia’ where I am focusing on overlaps between yoga, ayurveda and Indian alchemy in the modern period. For this work I am based at Inform, an independent charity based at the London School of Economics. At the moment, my research is focusing on ideas about immortality, rejuvenation practices and the medical interventions of sadhus. I was a founding member of the Modern Yoga Research website and am book reviews editor for the journal Religions of South Asia.

    Suzanne Newcombe

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