South Asian Religions


Doctoral Studies in this area investigate the various South Asian religions, primarily Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity (while a successful program of study that attends also to Jain or Sikh traditions is possible). Study can proceed from a variety of methodological perspectives, including history, theology, philosophy, literature, arts, and anthropology. Examples of ways that students may structure their studies include concentrating on a particular religious community or tradition (such as Hinduism), engaging in thematic study that crosses religious, cultural, and linguistic borders, exploring the complex interactions among various religious movement and traditions within South Asia in a particular period or in a particular region, or tracing the religious contours of the South Asian global diaspora. Students in South Asian Religious Traditions are expected to study the classical and/or modern languages relevant to their tradition-specific and thematic areas of focus.

Recent and current dissertation topics include:

  • Ethical Revaluation in the Thought of Santideva
  • Arumuka Navalar and the Formation of a Saiva Public Colonial Jaffna
  • Transforming the Seat of the Goddess into Visnu's Place: The Complex Layering of Theologies in the Karavira Mahatmaya
  • Reviving Religion: The Qadiri Sufi Order, Popular Devotion to Sufi Saint Muhyiuddin "Abdul Qadir al-Gilani and Processes of "Islamization" in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka
  • Nectar of Bhakti: Devotional Songs of Gujarati Saint-poet Narasinha Mehta
  • The Ocean of Inquiry: A Forgotten Classic of Late Vedānta
  • The Role of Religion in the Formation of Panjabi Literary Culture
  • Fragile Virtue: Interpreting Women’s Monastic Practice in Early Medieval India
  • Religious Identity and the Vernacularization of Literary Cultures of the Panjab, 1500-1700
  • Ethics and Religion in a Classic of Sanskrit Drama: Harsa's Nagananda
  • Philosophy in Any Language: Interaction between Arabic, Sanskrit, and Persian Intellectual Cultures in Mughal South Asia

Affiliated Faculty

Ali S. Asani

Ali S. Asani

Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures
Diana Eck

Diana Eck

Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society

Parimal Patil

Professor of Religion and Indian Philosophy
Chair, Department of South Asian Studies
Teren Sevea

Teren Sevea

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies (HDS)
ON LEAVE Fall & Spring 2022-2023