Head of Department
T +43-1-4277-31602
Office Hour: upon agreement
Room 010, 5th floor



Lukas K. Pokorny is Professor and Chair of Religious Studies as well as Head of Department. He also serves as Director of Studies for Religious Studies and Research representative of the College. He was elected Vice President of the Austrian Society of Religious Studies (2019–2025). Previously, he served as Vice Dean for Research and International Affairs from 2018–2022). He holds an M.A. in Philosophy (2004) and History (2009) (magister philosophiae), Korean Studies (2006) and Religious Studies (2008) (magister), and Advanced Theological Studies (2014) (master of arts), as well as a Ph.D. (doctor philosophiae) in Philosophy (2008). He was previously Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies (2013–2016) and Bruce Lecturer in East Asian Religions (2011–2013) at the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, U.K. In the spring/summer semester 2019, he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Institute for the Study of Religions at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. From 2013 to 2015 a research grant led him to Stockholm University's Department of Oriental Languages as a Visiting Researcher in East Asian Religions. In addition, in summer/autumn 2014 he was Visiting Professor in Religious Studies at the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts at Chaminade University of Honolulu. From 2006 to 2010, he was a doctoral and postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Vienna's Department of East Asian Studies. He conducted extensive field research in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam as well as study and research stays at Yonsei University, Tokai University, Kyoto University, Peking University, and Beijing Language and Culture University. He taught at several universities, including the University of Aberdeen, Georg-August University in Göttingen, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Stockholm University, Charles University in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno, Palacký University in Olomouc, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Comenius University in Bratislava, and Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca.
His present research focuses on religion in Austria/Europe; millenarianism; new religious movements; and alternative religions (esotericism). His current publication projects include, among others, an edited volume titled Illuminations and Border Walks/Crossings: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Religion, Gender, and the End of Life (with Leona Mörth-Nicola and Kerstin Tretina at Brill), a Vienna Journal of East Asian Studies special issue on "Occult East Asia" (with Franz Winter), and the ninth volume of Religion in Austria.
Together with Franz Winter he recently published the edited volumes Appropriating the Dao: The Euro-American Esoteric Reception of China at Bloomsbury (2024) and The Occult Nineteenth Century: Roots, Developments, and Impact on the Modern World at Palgrave Macmillan (2021) as well as the NVMEN special issue on "Euro-American Esoteric Readings of East Asia" (2024). Along with Laurence Cox and Ugo Dessì, he edited East Asian Religiosities in the European Union: Globalisation, Migration, and Hybridity (Brill 2024); with Astrid Mattes he edited Taking Seriously, Not Taking Sides: Challenges and Perspectives in the Study of Religions (Brill 2024). Other more recent publications include a Special issue of JRaT on "Exploring Asian Religions in Europe" (edited with Ugo Dessì), a Special Issue of Religions on "Globalisation and East Asian Religions" (edited with Ugo Dessì), a Special Issue of Religions on "The Funerary Traditions of East Asian New Religious Movements" (edited with Jérémy Jammes), the Handbook of East Asian New Religious Movements (edited with Franz Winter at Brill), the fifteenth volume of the Vienna Journal of East Asian Studies (edited with Rudiger Frank, Ina Hein, and Rossella Ferrari Chen at Brill), and the seventh volume of Religion in Austria. He lives with his wife, Xuan, and his four daughters in a small town in Lower Austria.