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South Asia

At Stanford the study of religion in South Asia covers the intellectual history and cultures of the many traditions of the region, with faculty specializing in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. Faculty strengths include Hinduism in early modern India, Śaiva and Śākta Tantric traditions, secularism and pluralism in South Asia, communal conflict and interreligious relations, modern South Asian Islam, religion and material culture, the transmission and translation of Buddhist literature, the study of Buddhist manuscripts, Buddhist Tantra, Tibetan Buddhism, and the circulation of Buddhist knowledge in Asia.

Training in this program draws from a variety of theories and methods current within religious studies and related disciplines (critical theory, ethnography, philology, philosophy, ritual studies, material religion, etc) in the department and across the university. This training typically entails research in primary sources, requiring competence in the relevant languages (Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Tibetan, etc.).

The Center for South Asia, the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, and the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies provide significant resources and opportunities for students to expand their networks.


Anna Bigelow

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Elaine Fisher

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Photo of James Gentry

James Gentry

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Portrait Picture of Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison, Department Chair

George Edwin Burnell Professor of Religious Studies, Department Chair

Trent Walker

Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, Postdoctoral Fellow, The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies