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Biography

Flavio’s academic career is marked by a far-reaching international itinerary in studies, research, and teaching, which allowed him to acquire proficiency in more than a dozen languages. He earned his academic degrees in Switzerland and the United States; conducted dissertation research in Italy, India, and Nepal; and taught undergraduate and graduate courses at five different universities Switzerland, the United States, and Israel. 

TIMELINE

Flavio’s Academic Timeline

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2019-present | POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH & NEW PROJECTS

After completing his PhDs in Europe and the United States, it was time to embark on a new adventure. Winning fellowships from the Khyentse Foundation (2019-21), the Lady Davis Foundation (2020-21), the Azrieli Foundation (2021-23), and the Mandel Scholion Research Center (2021-24), Flavio has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Affiliated with the departments of Comparative Religion and Asian Studies, he is currently working on two new research projects dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of tantric meditation practices in Indo-Tibetan religions. In the meantime, he also continues teaching courses at various universities in Switzerland.

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2018-2019 | PHD DEFENSES & FIRST MONOGRAPHS

In 2018 and 2019, he successfully defended his two PhDs at the Universities of Bern and Virginia. Since then, he has rewritten both dissertations in order to publish them in the form of monographs. Given that the theses were of rather lengthy proportions (the dissertation on Ernesto de Martino was almost 1000 pages long), this was a major undertaking. While Framing the Sky, a study of the famous Tibetan sky-gazing meditation, is currently peer-review with a university press, his first monograph—entitled The Life and Work of Ernesto De Martino: Italian Perspectives on Apocalypse and Rebirth in the Modern Study of Religion—was published by Brill in the Numen Book Series. Thanks to a generous grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the book has been published open access and is freely available here.

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2015-2016 | PHD RESEARCH: KATHMANDU, NEPAL

For his PhD research at the University of Virginia, Flavio spent 18 months in the Himalayas, more specifically in Kathmandu, Nepal. Funded by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship from the United States Department of Education, he spent his time reading ancient scriptures and commentarial literature of the famous Tibetan Buddhist tradition, known as the Great Perfection (rdzogs chen, Dzogchen). Living with local people and benefitting from some of the best language teachers he has ever encountered, he also learned fluent Nepali.

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2014-2015 | PHD RESEARCH: ROME, ITALY

After finishing his master’s degree, Flavio started working on a research project on Ernesto de Martino (1908-1965), a historian of religions that he first encountered during his undergraduate studies at the University of Lausanne. He received a generous doc.mobility fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation to conduct his dissertation research in de Martino’s archives, which were hosted at one of the oldest musical institutions in the world, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Even though his archival research officially ended after 18 months, he still struggles to leave the eternal city and spends much of his time in Rome to write on his new projects. 

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2010-2013 | MA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

His trip around the world was cut short as he decided to settle in the United States, where he spent time in various locations before settling in Charlottesville, Virginia. Although he was admitted into the MA-PhD program at the University of Virginia to conduct a comparative study of contemplative practices in Hinduism and Judaism, he quickly became interested in the study of Tibetan religions and made this the focus of his coursework under the supervision of David Germano and Kurtis Schaeffer.

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2009-2010 | TRAVELS & CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE IN ASIA

After completing his BA, Flavio spent a year traveling around the world, visiting many parts of Asia. During this period, he also invested extended periods of time engaging in meditation and yoga practice, both in group and solitary retreat settings.

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2006-2008 | LANGUAGE STUDIES IN ASIA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Thanks to generous grants from various institutions associated with the university of Lausanne, he spent his summers studying Hindi, Hebrew, and Tibetan at the Mussoorie Language School in Northern India (2006), the Hebrew University of Jeruslaem in Israel (2007), and the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal (2008).

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2005-2008 | BA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LAUSANNE

Flavio completed his undergraduate studies in religious studies (sciences des religions) with a focus on Judaism and Indo-Tibetan religions at the University of Lausanne, in the French part of Switzerland. Besides providing him with fundamental philological and cultural training in these religious traditions, the program has decisively shaped his career trajectory by exposing me to a diverse range of methodological approaches, which still inform his research today.

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2004-2005 | FIRST INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES

After high school, he initially started to study economics at the University of Zurich, before spending two semesters at the University of Siena (Italy) and the University of Denver (USA). Standing at a crossroad in his own life, he also completed the Camino de Santiago. It was during this period of exploration that he first encountered world of religions, igniting his enduring fascination with practices of self-transformation.

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1980s & 90s | EARLY LIFE

Born into a family with Italian origins as the oldest of five children, Flavio grew up in the German part of Switzerland in the city of Zurich. He specialized in the study of modern languages during his years at the Gymnasium learning English, French, and Spanish. He actually did not like going to school and had consistently low grades. He was a child with much energy and spent much of his time playing sports.

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