Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

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The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, founded in 1997, is a Recognised Independent Centre of Oxford University. The Centre is engaged in developing academic programmes of education, research and publishing in the field of Hindu studies
Hindu studies
Hindu studies is the study of the traditions and practices of the Indian subcontinent, especially Hinduism. Beginning with British philology in the colonial period, Hindu studies has been practiced largely by Westerners, due in part to the lack of a distinct department for religion in Indian academia...

. The Centre also aims to encourage the Hindu community in the academic study of their own traditions and cultures.

'This development in the field of Hindu Studies at Oxford is very exciting. It is an important addition to Oxford's wealth of resources on India and Indian religious traditions. It fits in well with our goal to attract more Indian students to come and study at Oxford. The new official association provides a platform for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Oxford University to move forward together in teaching, research and publishing.'

Educational Programmes

All students of the OCHS are members of Oxford colleges and are studying for Oxford degrees from undergraduate to doctoral levels. Students are reading for degrees in the faculties of Theology, Oriental Studies, History and Anthropology. Since 1998, the Centre has been inviting scholars to deliver lectures and tutorials at Oxford University. These include recipients of the very successful Shivdasani Visiting Fellowship, which helps Indian scholars come to Oxford every term. Through these fellowships and student scholarships the Centre effectively encourages intellectual understanding between cultures of learning. The Centre offers regular lectures and seminars at Oxford, interdisciplinary and broad in their range, including the named Majewski, Wahlstrom and Ford lectures.

Continuing Education Department

Since 2003 the OCHS Continuing Education Department (CED) has facilitated access to Hindu Studies for adults in the UK - at various locations, and online for a more international audience, making a scholarly approach to the subject available to as wide an audience as possible.


The library holds a collection of some 20,000 volumes received mainly by donation concentrating on the study of Hindu culture, religion, languages, literature, philosophy, arts and society. Areas of strength include Sanskrit grammar, poetics, philosophy, theology, comparative theology, and religions studies. The collection reached its present size with major donations from J. A. F. Roodbergen, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Hridayananda Dasa Goswami, and Tamal Krishna Goswami.

Journal of Hindu Studies

Since 2008 the Centre has published the Journal of Hindu Studies in partnership with Oxford University Press. The Journal is fully refereed. The aim of the Journal is to create a forum for critical and constructive interdisciplinary discourse, exploring key questions and meta-issues relating to the developing field of Hindu Studies.

The Journal currently publishes three issues a year, one guest-edited and one open for submissions. The third issue usually publishes conference and panel papers. The first two issues are on the same broad annual theme. These themes focus on theoretical meta-issues that are relevant to all fields within Hindu Studies, linking scholars in interdisciplinary dialogue. Themes published to date include: Hermeneutics and Interpretation, Aesthetics and the Arts, and Reason and Rationality. The disciplines represented in the Journal presently include History, Philology, Literature and the Arts, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Archaeology, and Religious Studies..

Gavin Flood, is the Editor-in-Chief, Jessica Frazier, is the Managing Editor, and Rembert Lutjeharms, the Reviews Editor.

Hindu Studies Book Series

The OCHS Hindu Studies book series, has proven to be a successful association with Routledge
Routledge is a British publishing house which has operated under a succession of company names and latterly as an academic imprint. Its origins may be traced back to the 19th-century London bookseller George Routledge...

, the publisher. The series publishes books covering areas of constructive Hindu theological, philosophical and ethical research which aims to bring Hindu traditions into dialogue with contemporary trends in scholarship and contemporary society. This includes annotated translations of important primary sources and studies in the history of the Hindu religious traditions. The series has attracted original, high quality, research level work on religion, culture and society of Hindus living in India and abroad. Such publishing opportunities are very helpful in promoting young scholars’ careers and in developing the broad field of Hindu Studies.

The Series Editor is the Centre's Academic Director, Professor Gavin Flood
Gavin Flood
-See also:* Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies* Krishnology...

. The previous Series Editor was Professor Francis X. Clooney
Francis X. Clooney
Francis Xavier Clooney, S.J., is a professor and a Roman Catholic priest.-Career:After earning his doctorate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 1984, he taught at Boston College until 2005, when he became the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of...

, SJ, Harvard University, USA, 2003–2005. Professor Clooney served as the Centre's Academic Director from 2002-2004.

Online Lecture Library

The OCHS has an Online Library of hundreds of MP3 recordings of lectures and seminars. Stretching from 2001 to the present and growing with each new term, the library ranges from introductory surveys of major Hindu themes, texts and traditions; single lectures on topics like Women in the Mahabharata or Poetry in the Vedas; discussions with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Scholars, and seminars on Hindi Cinema.


Research projects at OCHS fall under four general headings. The four broad areas are:
1. Hinduism and modernity
2. Classical Hinduism
3. Comparative philosophy and religion
4. Historical perspectives on Hindu cultures

Current Research Projects

  • Bengali Vaishnavism in the Modern Period, Project Director, Ferdinando Sardella
  • Bhagavata Purana Research Project, Project Directors, Ravi M. Gupta, Kenneth R. Valpey
  • Sakta Traditions: History, Doctrine, and Practice, Project Manager: Bjarne Olesen
  • OCHS Religious Subjectivity Project, Project Directors, Gavin Flood, Jessica Frazier
  • Categories in Indian Philosophy Project, Project Directors, Jonardon Ganeri, Jessica Frazier
  • Archaeology and Text Project, Project Director, Himanshu Prabha Ray


The OCHS has hosted a number of conferences and symposia characterised by their interdisciplinary approach. These gatherings have dealt with a wide range of topics including, the idea of Desire, Women in Hinduism, Philosophy, Archaeology, temple art and architecture, and Shakta. The largest conference, a Shivdasani conference, was held in Trinity College, in 2007, titled Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia. The proceedings of this conference were published by Oxford University Press, in 2009. The second Shivdasani Conference – Thinking Inside the Box: The Concept of a Category in Indian Philosophy– took place in 2009, at Somerville College.

Community Research Projects

Since 2001 the Centre has developed a number of community based research projects, listed below.
The British Hinduism Oral History Project.

For the first time, the experiences of 300 first generation Hindus who settled in Britain were recorded, transcribed, given a web presence, and archived. This three-year project, launched at the Indian High Commission, London, in 2001, was funded by the Heritage Lottery Foundation.
Hindu Youth Research Project.

The Hindu Youth Research Project, conducted in 2001 is the first survey of its kind in the UK, developed with the assistance of the Hindu Youth Festival 2001. The results have served to make the concerns and experiences of young British Hindus known to government, media and the public.
Digital Shikshapatri.

This project provides online access to an important part of the British Hindu cultural heritage. The Shikshapatri manuscript is part of the Sanskrit manuscript collection of Oxford's Bodleian Library. The text was written by Shree Swaminarayan, founder of Swaminarayan Hinduism, and is a religious manual for daily life. The project aimed at helping people of all backgrounds to better understand the significance of this popular manuscript. The project also proved to be a good example of how scholars and community members successfully worked together for a common goal. The project was a collaborative venture between the OCHS, the Indian Institute Library, and the Refugee Studies Centre of Oxford University, was funded by The New Opportunities Fund, and lasted from 2001-2003.

List of people associated with Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

  • Amitabh Bachchan
    Amitabh Bachchan
    Amitabh Bachchan is an Indian film actor. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s as the "angry young man" of Hindi cinema, and has since appeared in over 180 Indian films in a career spanning more than four decades...

  • Guy Beck
    Guy Beck
    Dr. Guy L. Beck is a scholar, author, historian of religions, musicologist, and musician. He is presently Lecturer in Religious Studies in the School of Continuing Studies at Tulane University, and Instructor in the Philosophy Department at the University of New Orleans. He has a Ph.D...

  • Judith M. Brown
    Judith M. Brown
    Judith M. Brown, is a historian of modern South Asia. From 1990 - 2011 she was the Beit Professor of Commonwealth History and a Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. Earlier she taught at the University of Manchester and completed her PhD at Girton College, Cambridge.-See also:*British Raj*Company...

  • Francis X. Clooney
    Francis X. Clooney
    Francis Xavier Clooney, S.J., is a professor and a Roman Catholic priest.-Career:After earning his doctorate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 1984, he taught at Boston College until 2005, when he became the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of...

  • Alfred Ford
    Alfred Ford
    Alfred Ford , also known as Ambarish Das, is an American businessman. He is a great grandson of legendary businessman Henry Ford. He is married to Dr...

  • Gavin Flood
    Gavin Flood
    -See also:* Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies* Krishnology...

  • Friedhelm Hardy
    Friedhelm Hardy
    Friedhelm Ernst Hardy also known as Fred Hardy was Professor of Indian Religions, teaching at King's College London. He was a linguist familiar with both classical and modern Indian languages, described in his obituary as "unrivalled in this country and possibly anywhere in the world today"...

     (1943 - 4 August 2004)
  • Julius J. Lipner
    Julius J. Lipner
    , who is of Indo-Czech origin, is at the .He was born and brought up in India, for the most part in West Bengal. After his schooling in India, he obtained a Licentiate in Theology in the Pontifical Athenaeum in Poona, and then spent two years studying for an M.A. in Indian and Western philosophy...

  • John Muddiman
    John Muddiman
    The Reverend Dr John Muddiman is the G. B. Caird Fellow in New Testament Theology at Mansfield College, Oxford. Amongst his academic works he has produced a critically acclaimed examination of authorship in the Epistle to the Ephesians. Moreover, along with John Barton, he has co-edited the Oxford...

  • Keith Ward
    Keith Ward
    Keith Ward is a British cleric, philosopher, theologian and scholar. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an ordained priest of the Church of England. He was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford until 2003...

  • Kenneth R. Valpey
    Kenneth R. Valpey
    Kenneth R. Valpey is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Theologian who studied at Oxford University, St Cross College . While there, he conducted his research at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He has a D.Phil. from Oxford University, where his dissertation was on Chaitanya Vaishnava murti-seva...

  • Klaus Klostermaier
  • Navnit Dholakia, Baron Dholakia
    Navnit Dholakia, Baron Dholakia
    Navnit Dholakia, Baron Dholakia OBE PC DL is a British Liberal Democrat politician and the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. Lord Dholakia is one of the most senior Asian politicians in Britain.-Education:...

  • Radhika Ramana Dasa
    Radhika Ramana Dasa
    Radhika Ramana Dasa, also known as Dr. Ravi M. Gupta, is a notable Vaishnava scholar. Presently, he is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and a member of the faculty at Bhaktivedanta College...

  • Richard Gombrich
    Richard Gombrich
    Richard Francis Gombrich is a British Indologist and scholar of Sanskrit, Pāli, and Buddhist Studies. He acted as the Boden Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford from 1976 to 2004. He is currently Founder-President of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies...

  • Shaunaka Rishi Das
    Shaunaka Rishi Das
    Shaunaka Rishi Das is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies , a position he has held since the Centre's foundation in 1997. He is a Hindu cleric, a lecturer, a broadcaster, and Hindu Chaplain to Oxford University...

  • Makarand Paranjape
    Makarand Paranjape
    Makarand Paranjape is an Indian poet and professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India.-Early life and education:...

  • Usha Prashar, Baroness Prashar
    Usha Prashar, Baroness Prashar
    Usha Kumari Prashar, Baroness Prashar, CBE, is a Cross Bench member of the House of Lords. Since the 1970s, she has served as a director or chairman of a variety of public and private sector organisations...

  • Kamalesh Sharma
    Kamalesh Sharma
    H.E Kamalesh Sharma is the current Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations from 2008, having previously served as the High Commissioner for India in London....

  • Laxmi Mall Singhvi (November 9, 1931 – October 6, 2007)
  • Gaj Singh, Maharaja of Jodhpur
    Gaj Singh, Maharaja of Jodhpur
    Gaj Singh is a former member of the Indian parliament and a former High Commissioner of India. He was the Maharaja of Jodhpur from 1952 until the royal powers, privileges and privy purses were abolished by an amendment to the Constitution of India in 1971. -Early years...

  • Ranjit Sondhi
    Ranjit Sondhi
    Ranjit Sondhi was a BBC Governor with responsibility for the English regions. First appointed in August 1998, his term of office was renewed for another four years in 2002 and finished in October 2006....

  • Ceri Peach
    Ceri Peach
    Ceri Peach is a geographer from Bridgend, Wales. He was an undergraduate , graduate student and lecturer at Merton College, Oxford before being appointed to a lectureship in Geography at St Catherine's College, Oxford in 1965 at the age of 26...

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