Associate Professor
Deputy Head of Department
T +43-1-4277-31604
Office Hour: upon agreement
Room 011, 5th floor


Birgit Heller is Associate Professor (1999) of Religious Studies. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy (1980; bakkalaurea philosophiae), an M.A. in Theological Studies (1983; magistra theologiae) and a Ph.D. in Theology (1988; Old Testament Studies and Ancient Near Eastern Studies; doctor theologiae). Since the beginning of her studies, her main interest is in Comparative Religion. Therefore, she studied topics related to religion across a number of disciplines like Classics, Egyptology, History of Art, and, especially, Indology. From 1985 to 1999, she was a doctoral and postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Vienna’s Department of Religious Studies. Following several research stays in India, she completed her “Habilitation” (1998; doctor philosophiae habilitatus) at the University of Hannover with a study on women’s emancipation in modern Hinduism and was bestowed the venia docendi “Religionswissenschaft.” In 1999 she was offered a chair at the University of Bremen. She taught at different universities, including the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg im Breisgau, Leibniz University Hannover, LMU Munich, Freie Universität Berlin, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Université de Fribourg, and Kepler University Linz. From 2001 to 2016, Professor Heller was lecturer at the International Master Study of Palliative Care, University of Klagenfurt. In addition, for many years she has been extensively engaged in different contexts of extension studies and staff training related to Palliative Care. Her scholarly interests include Comparative Religion (conceptions of wo/man; death, mourning, and afterlife); Hindu Religions; Gender Studies, and “Praktische Religionswissenschaft” with a focus on religious and spiritual dimensions of Palliative Care.