Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities, Department of English & Comparative Literature
Gauri Viswanathan has published widely on education, religion, and culture; nineteenth-century British and colonial cultural studies; and the history of modern disciplines. She has held numerous visiting chairs, among them the Beckman Professorship at Berkeley, and was recently an Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and a Visiting Mellon Scholar at the University of Cape Town. She has received Guggenheim, NEH, and Mellon fellowships, and was a fellow at various international research institutes.
Viswanathan’s current work is on genealogies of secularism and the writing of alternative religious histories. She has published extensively on the cultural influence of Theosophy, with two recent articles appearing in PMLA. She is a network partner in the international research project "Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism, and the Arts," funded by the Leverhulme Trust in the U.K. As part of the three-year grant a major conference on Theosophy, literature, and history will be held at Columbia in 2015.
Her areas of interest include: intellectual history; education, religion, and culture; 19th-century British and colonial cultural studies; and history of disciplines. Viswanathan is the author of Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (Columbia, 1989; Oxford, 1998) and Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief (Princeton, 1998), which won the Harry Levin Prize awarded by the American Comparative Literature Association, the James Russell Lowell Prize awarded by the Modern Language Association of America, and the Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Prize awarded by the Association for Asian Studies. She also edited Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward W. Said (Vintage, 2001). Viswanathan coedits the book series South Asia Across the Disciplines, published jointly by the university presses of Columbia, Chicago, and California under a Mellon grant.