Hinduism at UofT


The University of Toronto is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Hinduism. Exceptional faculty pursue a broad spectrum of academic interests, including Sanskrit and vernacular intellectual history, literary cultures, hagiography, gender and sexuality, ritual praxis, diasporic traditions and comparative studies. Particular strengths lie in the epics and their reception, the historiography of Greater South India, commentarial and poetic (kāvya) traditions, the relationship between premodern and modern religious forms, and the intersections of Hinduism with other South Asian religious traditions.


This dynamic research program is supported by one of the most extensive library collections for the study of Hinduism in the Western Hemisphere. Superior training is offered in a number of classical and contemporary South Asian languages. Students collaborate closely with faculty to devise and implement cutting-edge research projects encompassing a wide range of historical periods, geographical regions, linguistic communities, and methodological approaches. Students are further encouraged to take advantage of the University’s considerable strengths in South Asian Islam, Buddhism, and Jainism. The calibre of ongoing academic inquiry and diversity of intellectual resources available to students of Hinduism at UofT is hardly matched elsewhere in North America.


Hinduism at UofT

Students of Hinduism are introduced to the past and present forms of Hinduism and the theories and methodologies of its study in our second-year lecture courses. In more advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on Hinduism students engage with important areas of the vast literatures in Sanskrit and Tamil such as the epics, the literature and practices of Bhakti, Yoga and Ayurveda, and those of the philosophical scholastic traditions. Courses exploring the interconnectedness of Hinduism with other religions are those on the Indo-Islamic/Hindu encounter or on the Hindu and Buddhist Newar literature of Nepal. Further, students and teachers engage with key humanities and social sciences topics such as aesthetics, atheism, colonialism, feeding and fasting, gender, and kingship. Close readings in the original and in translation of scriptures and other texts, such as the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa, Vedānta treatises and commentaries, kāvya, and regional wisdom literature, to name just a few examples, form a central part of a Hinduism student’s training at UofT.


Please meet our current UofT South Asian Hinduism graduate students here, - and review our alumni and their work here. For an overview of our programmes, please visit the following page.

Hinduism at UofT


Rigorous ongoing language studies are a top priority for studying Hinduism at UofT. Sanskrit is regularly offered on various levels (introductory, intermediate, and advanced), either as an intensive summer course or in small groups during the fall and spring terms. Working knowledge of at least one other regional or classical language is a goal students should aim at. UofT offers courses for Hindi and Urdu, Persian, and, occasionally, Prakrit and Tamil.

Hinduism at UofT


Students can enrich their regular UofT curriculum by taking advantage of one of the most lively lecture, workshop, and conference scenes in North America. The Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) hosts an impressive programme of events related to South Asia, including talks directly relevant for the historical and social contextualization of Hinduism. More specifically, the Religious Genealogies of Contemporary South Asia Colloquium, scheduled annually during the fall and spring terms, and hosting top speakers in the field, features a majority of lectures dealing with Hinduism and allows for an exposure of students to cutting edge research on other South Asian religions. The offerings are rounded up by the Numata Lectures and Reading Group Sessions, which present scholarship on Buddhism, and the Roop Lal Jain Lectures, which cover Jainism.

Hinduism at UofT


Arti Dhand, Associate Professor of Hinduism at UofT, is a scholar of the Hindu epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, Hindu ethics, gender issues in Hinduism, and religion and sexuality.


Christoph Emmrich, Associate Professor of South and Southeast Asian Buddhism at UofT, works on the translation of ritual idioms across Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism in Burma/Myamar, Nepal, and India, and engages with questions dealing with children and gender, mimesis and memory in text and performance.


Kajri Jain, Associate Professor of Indian Visual Culture and Contemporary Art, has worked on popular images in modern India (such as the bazaar icons known as calendar art, or monumental statues and theme parks) focussing on a vernacular business ethos where religion has been the primary site for adopting new media and expressive techniques.


Reid Locklin is Associate Professor of Christianity and the Intellectual Tradition. His research focuses on a range of issues in Comparative Thology and Hindu-Christian Studies, particularly the engagement between Christian thought and the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta. He also writes on the scholarship of teaching and learning in theology and religion. 


Libbie Mills, Assistant Professor of South Asian Languages and Cultures, specializes in early Shaiva Tantra, pratistha (installation procedure), Vastushastra (building instruction), temples of South Asia and its diaspora, Ayurveda medicine.


Luther Obrock, Assistant Professor in South Asian Religions focuses on the religious, political, and intellectual history of Sanskrit literature in second-millennium South Asia. His current research focuses on Indic conceptions of kingship, politics, and religion in the centuries surrounding the stabilization of Islamic rule in the Subcontinent. He is particularly interested in the religious and social history of premodern Kashmir.


Srilata Raman, Associate Professor of Hinduism at UofT, works on Sanskrit and Tamil intellectual formations in South India from pre-colonial times to modernity, Bhakti, Yoga, and Ayurveda, Srivaishnavism, Sanskrit and Tamil commentarial literature, religion and colonialism, colonial sainthood and gurus, gender and the goddess, as well as on modern Tamil and Dalit literature.


Ajay Rao, Associate Professor of South Asian Religions at UofT, focuses on Sanskrit intellectual history, Sanskrit literature and poetics, and religion and aesthetics.


J. Barton Scott, Assistant Professor of Religion and Media, puts religion in colonial India in transnational perspective by approaching modern Hindu thinkers as theorists of religion who can be read alongside their North Atlantic contemporaries. Scott’s current research interests include print culture in colonial India, the legal regulation of media publics, and the reception of liberalism among colonial Hindu reformers.