Dr. John Stratton Hawley, professor of religion at Barnard College of Columbia University, will present the address “India and the Religion of the Heart” as the 2015-16 Danforth Lecture at Hope College on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
Hawley will investigate how a historical narrative about India’s shared religion took form in the early 20th century. He will consider questions such as whether the narrative, called The Bhakti Movement, included or excluded groups including Muslims, women, the poor and “Untouchables.”
Hawley has written or edited 18 books. Many of them concern the religious traditions of north India, such as “Three Bhakti Voices” (Oxford, 2005), but the edited volumes range more widely, with titles including “Holy Tears: Weeping in the Religious Imagination,” with Kimberley Patton (Princeton, 2005). Two recent books are “Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition” (with Kenneth E. Bryant), one of the initial volumes in the Murty Classical Library of India, and “A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement,” both published by Harvard University Press. “A Storm of Songs” takes a particular interest in the early modern period as experienced in the Mughal and Kachvaha domains of north India.
He has served as director of Columbia University’s South Asia Institute and has received multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Danforth Lecture is sponsored by the Hope College Department of Religion with support from an endowment established by the Danforth Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri. The program was established by the foundation “to deepen and enlarge the religious dimension of the campus family through speakers who can reflect on the broad, interdenominational and yet positive sense of the Judaeo-Christian perspectives of life and existence.”
Some of the many distinguished scholars who have visited the campus through the program in the past include theologian Dr. Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago Divinity School; Dr. Phyllis Trible of Union Theological Seminary; Dr. Jon D. Levenson of Harvard University; Dr. Daniel Maguire of Marquette University; Dr. Allen Verhey of the Divinity School at Duke University; John Webster of the University of Aberdeen; Dr. John L. Esposito of Georgetown University; Dr. David Nirenberg of the University of Chicago; Dr. James VanderKam of the University of Notre Dame; Dr. Luke Johnson of Emory University; and Dr. Oliver O’Donovan of the University of Edinburgh.
Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.