Surjit S. Patheja Chair in World Religions and Ethics
Associate Professor of Theology
Associate Professor of International Studies

Arts and Sciences Building 310
219.464.6110
george.pati@valpo.edu

Biography

George Pati is an ethnographer and historian of religions. His main areas of research are in South Asian religions, languages, and cultures. His expertise is in Hinduism, Malayalam language and literature, and Kerala history and culture. He is especially interested in the embodiment of devotion, bhakti, through texts, rituals, and performances in the Malayalam language of Kerala, South India.

He currently serves on steering committees for two groups at the American Academy of Religion: Arts, Literature, and Religion and Body and Religion, and is on the editorial board of the journal, Body and Religion.

Education

Ph.D., The University Professors Program, Boston University (Religious Studies and South Asian Languages and Cultures)

Contributions

Books
  • Hindu Bodies as Threshold: Rituals and Performances of Kerala, South India. London and New York: Routledge (forthcoming).
  • Transformational Embodiment in Asian Religions: Subtle Bodies, Spatial Bodies. (Co-edited with Katherine C. Zubko). London and New York: Routledge (forthcoming).
  • Religious Devotion and the Poetics of Reform: Love and Liberation in Malayalam Poetry. London and New York: Routledge, 2019.
Chapter, Articles, and Entries
  • Sree Narayana Guru. In Tracy Coleman, ed., Hinduism: Oxford Bibliographies Online. New York: Oxford University Press, (forthcoming).
  • Transformational Embodiment in Kṛṣṇanāṭṭam of Kerala. Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Vol. 27, No.2, 2019, 191-207.
  • Movements, Miracles, and Mysticism: Apotheosis of Sree Narayana Guru of Early Twentieth Century Kerala. In Diana Dimitrova and Tatiana Oranskaia, eds., Divinization in South Asian Traditions. London: Routledge, 2018, 115-30.
  • Feet like a Lotus Powder. In Wendy Doniger, ed., Hinduism: Norton Anthology of World Religion. Vol.1. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2015, 379-382. 
  • Nambūtiris and Ayyappan Devotees in Kerala. In P. Pratap Kumar, ed., Contemporary Hinduism. London: Routledge, 2014, 204-16.
  • Narayana Guru. In Knut A. Jacobsen, ed., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Symbolism, Diaspora, Modern Issues. Volume 5. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013, 559-65.
  • Kerala Hinduism. In Alf Hiltebeitel, ed., Oxford Bibliographies Online. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Temple and Human Bodies: Representing Hinduism.” International Journal of Hindu Studies. Vol.15, No.2, (2011),191-207.
  • Kaḷari and Kaḷarippayaṭṭu of Kerala, South India: Nexus of the Celestial, the Corporeal, and the Terrestrial. Contemporary South Asia. Vol.18, No.2, 2010, 175-89.
  • Mohiniyāṭṭam: An Embodiment of the Aesthetic and the Religious. The Journal of Hindu Studies. Vol.3, 2010, 91-113.
  • Regional Tradition, Kerala. In Knut A. Jacobsen, ed., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Texts, Rituals, Arts, Concepts. Volume 2. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010, 606-14.
  • Body as Sacred Space in Kaḷaricikitsā of Kerala, South India. Religions of South Asia. Vol. 3, No.2, 2009, 235-50.
  • Kerala. In Knut A. Jacobsen, ed., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Regions, Pilgrimage, and Deities. Volume 1. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009, 221-31.

Interests 

  • Religions of South Asia
  • Hinduism
  • Devotional Traditions of India
  • Malayalam Language and Literature
  • Kerala History and Culture
  • Body and Religion
  • Rituals and Performances
  • Sanskrit and Hindi/Urdu Languages
  • Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Comparative Religions

Courses Taught

  • THEO 200 (WIC): Christian Traditions
  • THEO 360: Religions of South Asia
  • THEO 361: Indian Religions and Cultures
  • THEO 363: Religions of China and Japan
  • THEO 367: Religion, Film, and Body
  • THEO 367: Sacred Spaces, Bodies, and Rituals
  • THEO 367: Hinduism
  • THEO 367: Hindu Sacred Texts and Motifs
  • THEO 367: Devotional Traditions of India
  • THEO 367: Religion, Rituals, and Performances
  • THEO 367: Narratives of Love in South Asian Literature
  • THEO 369: Perspectives on Religious Quest
  • THEO 393: Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
  • THEO 492: Research and Writing in the Discipline
  • THEO 495: Goddess, Saints, and Women of India
  • THEO 495: History of South Asian Civilization
  • THEO 495: Buddhism
  • THEO 495: Elementary Sanskrit Language
  • THEO 495: Elementary and Intermediate Hindi Language
  • THEO 495: Contemporary India and Beyond
  • EAST 393: Chinese Culture and Civilization

Memberships

  • American Academy of Religion
  • Association for Asian Studies
  • European Association for South Asian Studies
  • Kerala Council for Historical Research
  • Society for Hindu-Christian Studies

Recognition

  • Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award, 2016-17
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Delta, Delta, Delta Sorority, Valparaiso University, 2011
  • Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Valparaiso University, 2010
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