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 tentatively titled Appropriating the Dao: The Euro-American Esoteric Reception of China (with Franz Winter), an edited volume on Exploring East Asian Religions in the EU (with Laurence Cox, and Ugo Dessì), a NVMEN special issue on "Euro-American Esoteric Readings of East Asia" (with Franz Winter), and the eighth volume of Religion in Austria (with Hans Gerald Hödl).
Together with Franz Winter he recently published the edited volume The Occult Nineteenth Century: Roots, Developments, and Impact on the Modern World at Palgrave Macmillan. 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 fourteenth volume of the Vienna Journal of East Asian Studies (edited with Rudiger Frank, Ina Hein, and Agnes Schick Chen at Sciendo/De Gruyter), and the seventh volume of Religion in Austria. He lives with his wife, Xuan, and his four daughters in a small town in the Rax area, Lower Austria.