DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

I came to the field of religious studies because that is where it is easiest to study Indian philosophy - but I'd never taken a course in the field before I got to grad school. So I arrived in the field with fresh eyes - mostly. By the second year of my master's in development sociology, it had become clear that a PhD in Asian religions was in my future, so I wrote a sociology master's thesis that would prepare me well for this: comparing nationalist appropriations of Hindu tradition in India and Confucian tradition in Singapore. Benedict Anderson was on my committee for the thesis, and I wouldn't be surprised if his recommendation gave me the edge in getting into the Harvard PhD program. A condensed version became an article in Asian Studies Review. I attended the AAR Annual Meeting every year between 2002 and 2009, and will return in 2015 to present on the use of technology for collaborative learning in religious-studies classrooms.

 

The boundaries between philosophy and religious studies get porous, as they do with so many academic disciplines. Much of the work I've listed on the philosophy pages above - including my dissertation, my encyclopedia article on Śāntideva, my podcast interviews, and more - is equally work in religious studies. My article on Ken Wilber was in an issue devoted to "integral" religious studies, and took particular aim at Wilber's treatment of mystical experience and the various traditions we refer to as "religions". I find the concept of "religion" tends to harm our understanding more than it helps, as I've noted in a number of blog posts, but cross-cultural philosophy inescapably ends up exploring the phenomena that typically get classified under that concept. 


My three years of faculty-level teaching, at Colorado College and Stonehill College, were all in religious-studies courses - introductions to Hindu tradition and Islam, sexuality in Indian traditions, Hindu-Muslim relations, and my signature course on the good life in cross-cultural perspective. I developed a significant interest in method and theory in the study of religion, and was invited to give a talk about the nature of the field at the University of Allahabad, India's fourth-oldest university, when they opened up a new program in comparative religion. I explained how the idea of "comparative religion" had fallen on hard times in North American religious studies, and recommended that aspiring Indian scholars of comparative religion engage themselves with the recent North American critiques. My remarks were published in the book collecting the conference's proceedings.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.