Post-doctoral fellow Marie Sklodowska-Curie (2023-2025), Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL), Leiden University (Netherlands).


Carmen Spiers, of American nationality, is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow (2023-2025) at the Leiden University Center for Linguistics (Netherlands). After her 2013 B.A. in Classics (Latin) at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA), she undertook an indological cursus in Paris at the University Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle, where she obtained her “Licence” in Indian Studies (Sanskrit) in 2014 and her master’s degree in 2016. She then obtained a PSL paid doctoral contract to conduct her PhD research at the École pratique des Hautes Études, and successfully defended in December 2020 her doctoral thesis in French entitled « Magie et poésie dans l’Inde ancienne. Édition, traduction et commentaire de la Paippalādasaṁhitā de l’Atharvaveda, livre 3 » at the École pratique des Hautes Études (PSL) with Nalini Balbir as director and Arlo Griffiths (EFEO) as co-director. In the course of her PhD studies, she was invited several times to participate in the Paippalāda project workshops at the University of Zurich (Switzerland), and she also completed several research fieldwork trips in India at the French Institute of Pondicherry (2018-2019) and at the École française d’Extrême Orient (2020, with an EFEO fieldwork grant).

Fields of research

Carmen Spiers researches Vedic culture from multiple angles: starting with the philological study of little-known Vedic texts, and up till now especially the literature of the Atharvaveda, she attempts to further our understanding of Vedic Sanskrit (in synchrony and with respect to Indo-European linguistics), as well as of the Vedic ritual system and more generally of the society in which this ritual developed in antiquity. Her work has led her furthermore to study the category of “magic,” often used to describe the Atharvaveda, from a comparative viewpoint and by making use of the resources offered by anthropology and linguistics for the theorization of human ritual practices.

HAL & Academia profiles



6 documents

Journal articles

  • Carmen Sylvia Spiers. The Semantics of Sharpness and the Prohibition of the Pungent: Garlic, Sanskrit śigru(ka)-, and Old Persian *θigra(ka)-. Indo-Iranian Journal, 2022, 65, pp.93-121. ⟨10.1163/15728536-06501002⟩. ⟨hal-03703996⟩
  • Carmen Sylvia Spiers. Sur un rôle inconnu de Soma : un dieu de l’amour dans l’Atharvaveda. Bulletin d'Études Indiennes, 2022, 35, pp.161-183. ⟨hal-03840754⟩
  • Carmen Sylvia Spiers. Book review of Bodewitz, Henk. Vedic Cosmology and Ethics: Selected Studies. Ed. D. Heilijgers, J. Houben, K. van Kooij. Leiden: Brill, 2019. Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, 2021, pp.477-479. ⟨hal-03321076⟩

Conference papers

  • Carmen Sylvia Spiers. References to Recitation/Chanting in the Saṁhitās and Brāhmaṇas. Traditional Chanting and Interpretation of Veda, with Special Reference to South Indian States, Vedic Research Center of the Vadakke Matham and the South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur, Feb 2021, Thrissur, Kerala, India. ⟨hal-03201946⟩

Book sections

  • Carmen Sylvia Spiers. La malédiction de l’observateur (upadraṣṭár-) dans l’Atharvaveda. H.A. Fellner; M. Malzahn; M. Peyrot. lyuke wmer ra. Indo-European Studies in Honor of Georges-Jean Pinault, Beech Stave Press, p. 487-500, 2021. ⟨hal-03509957⟩


  • Carmen Spiers. Magie et poésie dans l’Inde ancienne : édition, traduction et commentaire de la Paippalādasaṁhitā de l’Atharvaveda, livre 3. Littératures. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2020. Français. ⟨NNT : 2020UPSLP054⟩. ⟨tel-03180907⟩