Prof. Rupa Viswanath

Rupa Viswanath heads the research group "Indian Religions".

Rupa Viswanath is Professor of Indian Religions at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies at the University of Göttingen, and a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College at the University of Cambridge. Prior to arriving in Göttingen in 2011, she taught in the South Asia Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and writing address the practices of secular regimes, histories of slavery in colonial South Asia, the political economy of caste, and the historical dynamics of religious authorities and institutions. Her current research examines how the concept of a democratic “people” emerged in the vernacular in late colonial and postcolonial south India, and the kinds of reconfiguration this required of religious subjects and concepts of society.

Prof. Viswanath’s group takes an interdisciplinary approach to "Indian Religions". Research and teaching lie at the intersections of history, religious studies, Indology, anthropology and political science. Thematically, the group considers religious minorities and practices of minoritization, comparative secularisms, religion and empire, transnational religious movements, the relations among religions and forms of democratic practice, and interreligious conflicts and the popular conceptions to which they give rise.

  • Religious minorities and interreligious conflicts
  • Secularisms
  • Religion and empire
  • Religion and democracy

In an op-ed for the India Express on 13 July 2012, Prof. Viswanath discusses an aspect of the textbooks controversy for the Indian Express today. She comments on S.K. Thorat’s recommendation to replace the word “Dalit” with “Scheduled Caste” (SC) in textbooks.

Together with Ravi Ahuja she runs the "Historical Sociology" study focus.