George Pati


George Pati Surjit S. Patheja Chair In World Religions and Ethics and Professor Of South Asian Religions and Cultures 219.464.6110 Arts and Sciences Building 310


Professor George Pati joined Valparaiso University faculty in 2006 after earning his PhD in Religious Studies and South Asian Languages and Cultures from the University Professors Program, Boston University, MA. He was named the Surjit S. Patheja Chair in World Religions and Ethics in 2011. His is the recipient of the Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award in the year 2016-17, and was nominated for the Valparaiso University Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020. 

He is trained in a wide variety of methods including, history of religions, ethnographic fieldwork, and comparative religions. His areas of specialization include religions of South Asia, Hinduism, devotional traditions of India, Malayalam language and literature, and the body and Religion. He is especially interested in the embodiment of devotion, bhakti, through texts, rituals, and performances in the Malayalam language. His research interests come together in his publications. His first book, Religious Devotion and the Poetics of Reform: Love and Liberation in Malayalam Poetry (Routledge, 2019) is a study of Malayalam poetry authored by Kumāran Āśān (1873-1924) emphasizing the importance of bhakti as both passionate expressions toward the deity and resistance and reform movement during colonial period in Kerala. His second book, Transformational Embodiment in Asian Religions: Subtle Bodies, Spatial Bodies (co-edited with Katherine C. Zubko) (Routledge, 2020) is a discussion of transformational embodiment in different Asian religions, regions, and historical periods problematizing the study of body. His third book, Handbook on Religion and the Body (co-edited with Yudit Greenberg) (Routledge, forthcoming), offers a cross-cultural understanding of the body in various religious contexts. Currently, he is working on a monograph, Hindu Bodies as Threshold: Rituals and Performances of Kerala, South India, which is an ethnography that explores the many expressions of embodiment among Hindus in Kerala; and a translation of Ceruśśēri’s Kṛṣṇagātha (15th Cent.) from Malayalam to English. 

He is the Co-Chair of the Arts, Literature, and Religion unit of the American Academy of Religion, and serves on the editorial board of the journal, Body and Religion

Select Articles, Chapters, and Entries

Sree Narayana Guru. In Oxford Bibliographies in Hinduism. Ed. Tracy Coleman. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195399318-0234

Transformational Embodiment in Kṛṣṇanāṭṭam of Kerala. Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Vol.27, No.2, 2019: pp.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 and New York: Routledge, 2018: pp.115-130. 

Feet like Lotus Powder. In Wendy Doniger, ed., Hinduism: Norton Anthology of World Religion. Vol.1. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2015: pp.370-372.         

Nambūtiris and Ayyappan Devotees in Kerala. In P. Pratap Kumar, ed., Contemporary Hinduism. London and New York: Routledge, 2014: pp.204-216.

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

Kerala Hinduism. In Oxford Bibliographies in Hinduism. Ed. Alf Hiltebeitel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195399318-0126 

Temple and Human Bodies: Representing Hinduism. International Journal of Hindu Studies. Vol.15, No.2, 2011: pp. 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: pp.175-189. 

Regional Tradition, Kerala. In Knut A. Jacobsen, ed., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Texts, Rituals, Arts, Concepts. Volume 2. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010: pp.606-114.

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

Body as Sacred Space in Kaḷaricikitsā of Kerala, South India. Religions of South Asia. Vol. 3, No.2, 2009: pp. 235-250.

Kerala. In Knut A. Jacobsen, ed., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism: Regions, Pilgrimage, and Deities. Volume 1. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009: pp. 221-231.


Ph.D., Boston University, MA


  • Religions of South Asia
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Hinduism
  • Devotional Traditions of India
  • Malayalam Language and Literature
  • Kerala History and Culture
  • Body and Religion
  • Rituals and Performances


  • Hinduism
  • Devotional Traditions of India 
  • Indian Religions and Cultures
  • Sacred Spaces, Bodies, and Rituals
  • Religion, Film, and Body
  • Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
  • Senior Seminar Thesis
  • Religions of China and Japan
  • Asian Christianities


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