Associate Professor of Theology

Surjit Patheja Endowed Chair in World Religions and Ethics

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

Biography

George’s primary research and teaching interests lie in historical study of South Asian religions, languages, and cultures, with special emphasis on Hinduism and Malayalam language and literature. He is particularly interested in the mediation of devotion (bhakti) through texts, rituals, and performances of Kerala, South India. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and he has two monographs forthcoming, Hindu Bodies as Threshold: Rituals and Performances of KeralaSouth India, and Religious Devotion and the Poetics of Reform: Love and Liberation in Malayalam Poetry.

He currently serves as the co-chair of the Body and Religion group of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and on the editorial of the Journal of Body and Religion. He has served on the Board of Directors of Society for Hindu-Christian Studies. He has also taught in India and China.

Education

2006:  Boston University (Ph.D., Religious Studies and South Asian Languages and Cultures)

Contributions

Selected Publications

(forthcoming): “In Love with Viṣṇu: Rituals, Pilgrimages, and Performances in Kerala, India.” In Archana Venkatesan, ed., Vaiṣṇavism: Many Varieties of the Worship of Viṣṇu. London, UK: Oxford University Press (under contract)

2015: “Feet like a Lotus Powder.” In Jack Miles. Ed., Hinduism: Norton Anthology of World Religion. Vol.1. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2015, pp.379-382.

2013: “Nambūtiris and Ayyappan Devotees in Kerala.” In Contemporary Hinduism. Ed. P. Pratap Kumar. Durham, UK: Acumen, 2013, pp. 204-16; London: Routledge, 2014, pp.204-16

2013: “Narayana Guru.” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Symbolism, Diaspora, Modern Issues, Volume 5. Ed. Knut A. Jacobsen. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013, pp. 559- 565

2011: “Temple and Human Bodies: Representing Hinduism.” International Journal of Hindu Studies. Vol.15, No.2, 2011, pp. 191-207

2010: “Kaḷari and Kaḷarippayaṭṭu of Kerala, South India: Nexus of the Celestial, the Corporeal, and the Terrestrial.” Contemporary South Asia. Vol.18, No.2, 2010, pp.175-89

2010: “Mohiniyāṭṭam: An Embodiment of the Aesthetic and the Religious.” The Journal of Hindu Studies. Vol.3, 2010, pp. 91-113

2010: “Regional Tradition, Kerala.” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Texts, Rituals, Arts, Concepts. Ed. Knut A. Jacobsen. Volume 2. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010, pp. 606-14

2009: “Body as Sacred Space in Kaḷaricikitsā of Kerala, South India.” Religions of South Asia. Vol. 3, No.2, 2009, pp. 235-50

2009: “Kerala,” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Regions, Pilgrimage, and Deities., Volume 1. Ed. Knut A. Jacobsen. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2009, pp. 221-232.

Interests

Hinduism; Devotional Traditions of India; Kerala History and Culture; Malayalam Language and Literature; Sanskrit; Rituals; Indian Aesthetics; Body and Religion; Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion.

Courses Taught

  • Indian Religions and Cultures (THEO 361)
  • Topics in South Asian Religions: Hinduism (THEO 367/CC 300)
  • Hindu Sacred Texts and Motifs (THEO 360/ CC 300)
  • Topics in South Asian Religions: Devotional Traditions of India (THEO 367)
  • Topics in South Asian Religions: Religion, Rituals, and Performances (THEO 367)
  • Topics in South Asian Religions: Religion, Film, and Body (THEO 367)
  • Topics in South Asian Religions: Narratives of Love in South Asian Literature (THEO 367)
  • Religions of South Asia (Theo 360)
  • Goddess, Saints, and Women of India (THEO 495)
  • History of South Asian Civilization (THEO 495)
  • Buddhism (THEO 495)
  • Religions of China and Japan (THEO 363/EAST 363)
  • Chinese Culture and Civilization (EAST 395)
  • Perspectives on Religious Quest (THEO 369)
  • Elementary Sanskrit Language (THEO 495)
  • Elementary and Intermediate Hindi Language (THEO 495)
  • Contemporary India and Beyond (THEO 495)
  • The Christian Tradition: Asian Christianity (THEO 200)

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

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
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