Anne Koch How Is Yoga Spirituality Transforming in the Face of Modernity?

Anne Koch is Professor for Religious Studies at the Paris Lodron University Salzburg (Austria). She has held positions of Intermediate Professor at the universities of Berlin (Free University), Basel (Switzerland) and Munich. Koch’s reserach focuses on contemporary institutional, networked and informal religion in European and global history of religion. A further interest is the economics of (global) yoga, which led her to do a two-year field research in Japan, examining cosmoploitical spirituality. She participated in the LMU Mentoring for highly qualified female researchers and received the Gender Equality Grant from the University of Munich twice.

Area of Research

Cultural Study of Contemporary Religion, Economics of Religion, Alternative and Spiritual Healing, Cognitive Aesthetics of Religion, Cosmopolitanism, Spirituality

Anne Koch. Religionsökonomie. Eine Einführung. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2014.  
Anne Koch. "Alternative Healing as Magical Self-Care in Alternative Modernity." Numen 62 (2015): 431-459.  
Anne Koch. "Yoga as a Production Site of Social and Human Capital. Transcultural Flows from a Cultural Economic Perspective." In Yoga Traveling: Bodily Practice in Transcultural Perspective, edited by Beatrix Hauser. Heidelberg: Springer, 2013: 225-248.  
Anne Koch. "Reasons for the Boom of Body Discourses in Humanities and Social Sciences. A Chapter in European History of Religion." In Menschenbilder und Körperkonzepte im Alten Israel, in Ägypten und im Alten Orient, edited by Angelika Berlejung, Jan Dietrich and Joachim F. Quack. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012: 3-42.  

since 2016

Intermediate Professor Classic Religion and its Reception

Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin)

since 2015

Professor for Religious Studies

University of Salzburg (Universität Salzburg)

since 2015

Intermediate Professor for Study of Religion

University of Basel (Universität Basel)

since 2015

Extraordinary Professor

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)


Adjunct Assistant Professor

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Interfaculty Program Study of Religion


Intermediate Professor for Method and Theory in the Study of Religion,

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)


Guest Lecturer

University of Münster (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)


Academic Assistant

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Interfaculty Program Study of Religion, Faculty of Protestant Theology


Guest Lecturer

McDaniel College, Westminster/US


Guest Lecturer

Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)


Consultant to Architectural Firm Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kergaßner

Regarding the Design of a Multi-Religious Prayer Room at the International Conference Building near Munich


Consultant to the 2005 “National Garden Festival” (BUGA), Munich

For the “Place of World Religions”, and Moderator of the Interreligious Dialogue Group


Academic Assistant

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Institute of Biblical Literature of the Old Testament, Faculty of Catholic Theology


Habilitation in Religion

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Thesis "Körperwissen. Grundlegung einer Religionsaisthetik"


PhD in Philosophy

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Department of Philosophy


Master in Theology

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Faculty of Catholic Theology


Master in Philosophy

Munich School of Philosophy

- Journal of Religion in Europe

- Social Compass

- Zeitschrift der Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik

- Zeitschrift für Nachwuchswissenschaftler


- Mentoring Program of Excellence, University of Munich (2014-2015)

- Funding for Gender Equality, University of Munich (2010, 2012)


- Member of DFG Research Network Aesthetics of Religion (2015)

- Member of the steering committee of the Religion in Europe Consultation at the American Academy of Religion (2011-2014)

- Fellowship Bilateral Scientist Exchange DAAD-Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokio (2013)

- Invitation Fellowship DAAD-Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokio (2013)

- Founding-Member of the Working Group ‘Aesthetics of Religion’ in the DVRW (2008-2010)

- German Research Development Program (HWP), Habilitation Scholarship (2001-2003)

- DAAD Graduate Scholarship for Study Year at Jerusalem/Israel (1995-1996)

- Member of FWO Research Foundation Flanders

- DFG Travel Grant to AAR Chicago (2008)

- McDaniel College Presidential Funds (2007)

- DFG Travel Grant to AAR Washington (2006)

- McDaniel College Funds (2006)

- DVRW Travel Grant to EASR Santander/Spain (2003)

- Grant for PhD Publication, Ingelheim-Boehringer Foundation and Lutheran Church of Bavaria (2002)

Using participant observation and qualitative interviews in the Yoga scene the study presented in this interview investigates the characteristics of cosmopolitan spirituality. Findings from behavioral economics on altruism and religious giving are used to shed light on Yoga charity events. They exhibit an innovative mixture of generosity and liberal elements, such as competition, ANNE KOCH explains. Thus the observations challenge the traditional concepts of religion and spirituality, and indicate a key-transformation of cosmopolitan spirituality towards an outward social activism.

LT Video Publication DOI:

Competitive Charity: A Neoliberal Culture of ‘Giving Back’ in Global Yoga

  • Anne Koch
  • Journal of Contemporary Religion
  • Published in 2015
Anne Koch. "Competitive Charity: A Neoliberal Culture of ‘Giving Back’ in Global Yoga." Journal of Contemporary Religion 30 (2015): 73-88.