Edward Baring (Ph.D. Harvard University) is Associate Professor of Modern European History, specializing in twentieth-century intellectual life. Professor Baring is the author of The Young Derrida and French Philosophy, 1945-1968 (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which as a dissertation won the Harvard History Department’s Harold K. Gross Prize and as a book won the Morris D. Forkosch Prize (2011), awarded by the Journal of the History of Ideas for the best book in intellectual history. With Peter. E. Gordon he recently edited The Trace of God: Derrida and Religion (Fordham University Press, 2014). In addition, he has published a number of articles in Critical Inquiry, Modern Intellectual History, Journal of the History of Ideas, and New German Critique amongst others. His 2014 article “Ne me raconte plus d’histoires: Derrida and the Problem of the History of Philosophy,” in History and Theory, was the joint winner of the Society for French Studies Malcolm Bowie Prize for the best article by an early-career researcher in French.
His work has been funded by the ACLS, the Mellon Foundation, the NEH, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow.
At the undergraduate level, Edward Baring teaches the history of modern Europe. He offers courses for graduates in Modern European Intellectual History, following developments in philosophy, the humanities, and the social sciences as well as examining the intellectuals who contributed to academic discussion from the Enlightenment to the present.
Frances Bernstein is associate professor of history at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. She received her doctorate in Russian history from Columbia University in 1998. She teaches courses in Russian and European history, with a special focus on the history of sexuality, history of disease, history of medicine and the body. In 2007 she published The Dictatorship of Sex: Lifestyle Advice for the Soviet Masses (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2007). She is currently editing a collected volume on the history of Soviet medicine, which will include her article “‘Behind the Closed Door’: The Politics of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality in Early Soviet Medicine.” Her current research focuses on the culture and politics of disability in the Soviet context. Projects include: Empire of Broken Men: Disability and Medicine at the End of World War Two; “The 1937 Trial of the Deaf-Mutes: Purging Disability During the Great Terror”; and “All the Ward’s a Stage: Disabled Veterans and their Doctors in World War Two Health Plays.”
Education: B.A. with honors, Brown University, 1987, M.A. 1991; Ph.D. 1998, Columbia University.
Areas of Specialization: Russian history, history of sexuality, European women’s history.
Current Research Interests: a book, City of Broken Men: Disability, Memory, and Masculinity at the End of World War Two, and an article “Behind the Closed Door: The Politics of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality in Early Soviet Medicine.”
Awards and Other Academic Contributions:
James M. Carter (Ph.D. University of Houston) specializes in American foreign relations, the Vietnam War, the United States and East Asia, the Cold War, modernization theory, political economy, and nation building. His book Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968 was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008. He has also written articles on war profiteering in Vietnam and Iraq and the US advisory effort in Vietnam, and he has published reviews and essays in The Journal of Military History, Peace & Change, Education About Asia, Itinerario, The Journal of American History, The American Historical Review, History News Network, The Asia Times, and the BBC.
“‘The Lessons of the Last War are Clear:’ the ‘Military-Industrial Complex, Private Contractors, & U.S. Foreign Policy,” in Failed States and Fragile Societies: A New World Disorder? (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2014).
“‘Shaky as All Hell,’ The U.S. and Nation Building in Southern Vietnam,” in The Routledge Handbook of Military and Diplomatic History, 1865 to the Present, Christos Frentzos & Antonio Thompson, editors. (New York: Routledge Press, 2013).
Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968. (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
“‘The Needs are Enormous, the Time Short:’ American Advisors and the Invention of South Vietnam, 1954-1960,” in Vietnam War Era: People and Perspectives, Mitchell K. Hall & Peter C. Mancall, editors. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009).
“‘A National Symphony of Theft, Corruption and Bribery,’ Anatomy of State Building from Iraq to Vietnam,” in Vietnam in Iraq: Tactics, Lessons, Legacies, and Ghosts, David Ryan & John Dumbrell, editors, Routledge Press, 2006.
“The Vietnam Builders: Military Construction, Private Contractors and the ‘Americanization’ of U.S. Involvement in Vietnam,” The Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, 2:2 (November 2004): 44-63.
“Where’s the ‘Obama-Clinton’ Doctrine?” Podcast, Tavis Smiley Reports, February 2, 2010
“Long History of Corporate Involvement in Wartime,” Radio interview, The Takeaway with John Hockenberry, WNYC, September 3, 2009
“Obama: Cut Arms Exports,” Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF), (Washington, D.C.: February 6, 2009) Also featured on Antiwar.com & Commondreams.org
“‘The Construction Miracle of the Decade:’ U.S. Military Escalation, Private Contractors, and War in Vietnam,” BBC Vietnamese, December 2, 2008
“What a Difference a Century Makes: China from Imperial Plaything to Global Leader,” History News Network, September 1, 2008
“The Paradox of Construction and Destruction,” Asia Times Online, April 24, 2008
“Déjà vu All Over Again? 1968 and 2006,” with Bob Buzzanco, History News Network, November 19, 2006.
“Does Rumsfeld Remember His Own Vietnam Lessons for Iraq,” History News Network, January 23, 2006
“Is Congress AWOL on Iraq,” History News Network, March 7, 2005
“Has Rumsfeld Done an About Face?” Editorial, The Houston Chronicle, February 19, 2004
Interview with John Burnett, “Halliburton Deals Recall Vietnam-Era Controversy,” Part III, National Public Radio (NPR), December 24, 2003
“War Profiteering From Vietnam to Iraq,” Editorial, Counterpunch, Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair, editors, December 11, 2003.
Wyatt Evans returned to academics following stints as a Peace Corps volunteer and U.S. Army civil affairs officer. Trained as an intellectual and cultural historian, his main areas of interest included collective memory and the interaction of the modern state and the individual. His first book, The Legend of John Wilkes Booth (Kansas, 2004), won the Organization of American Historians’ Avery O. Craven Award in 2005 and Drew University’s Bela Kornitzer Prize in 2007. He is currently at work on a study of Civil War domestic security for Oxford University Press as well as a longer-range project on the “memory of the good” in American history. He is a distinguished lecturer from the OAH speaker series.
Education: B.A. Carnegie-Mellon University, 1980, M.A., Drew University, 1999; Ph.D., 2003.
Areas of Specialization: American intellectual and cultural history, vernacular history and collective memory, conspiracy theory in American history.
Current Research Interests: historical understanding in the digital era and the development of digital literacy using historical topics in the classroom.
Courses Taught: American Civil War, History by the Numbers, Conspiracy Theory in U.S. History, Monsters & Gangsters: Film and the United States in the Great Depression Era, The American West in Myth and History, Creating “America”: Intellectual History of the Early Colonial Period (g).
Publications and Recent Presentations:
Awards and Other Academic Contributions:
Innovation characterizes Professor Pechilis’s research and publications, including her influential theoretical contributions to the study of bhakti (path of devotional participation); pioneering work on identification and comparative analysis of female gurus; translation and critical discussion of classical Indian devotional texts; reclaiming and restoring female voices from Indian tradition through gender and feminist interpretation; and providing transformative new insights on the development of the now global Nataraja image of Śiva as the Lord of Dance. Recent work includes reflections on the body in Indian traditions, theorizing the relationship between bhakti and Tantra, and ethnographic study of women and their perceptions and experience of work. Over the past twenty-five years she has conducted research in Chennai (Madras), south India through grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Fulbright Program, and the Asian Cultural Council. Her published work, both independent and collaborative, engages many scholarly discussions about the making of religious and cultural traditions, including interpretive history, translation, cultural analysis, and feminist and gender studies.
Professor Pechilis’s courses on Asian religions explore historical processes in the development of religion and culture, including master narratives and alternatives to them. Annual core courses include History and Culture of South Asia: Tradition and Today and History and Culture of East Asia: Tradition and Today. Elective courses include Women in Asian Traditions, History of Modern India through the Novel, History of India: Medieval to Modern, and South Asia through Art and Text. Her comparative courses, such as the Construction of Good and Evil in Film, engage a central theme with which to explore similarities and differences across Asian and Abrahamic traditions. Courses in this category have included pilgrimage, marriage in world religions, transnational film studies, and eastern and western art. Several of her courses, such as South Asia through Art and Text and History of Modern India through the Novel, are also offered through Drew’s magnetic graduate Arts & Letters Program.
For four years (2004-08), Professor Pechilis directed the Humanities Program at Drew, a dynamic interdisciplinary program designed especially for college students. Her special interest was to foreground global contacts among cultures considered in Humanities Program courses, engaging the historical and present West with Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Select Publications & Professional Activities
Interpreting Devotion: The Poetry and Legacy of a Female Bhakti Saint of India. The first book to provide a complete English translation of classical Tamil bhakti saint Karaikkal Ammaiyar’s poetry and the canonical biography about her, embedded within a critical academic discussion that theorizes the arc of interpretation of this fascinating woman’s devotional subjectivity through poetry, biography and present-day festival celebrations in her honor. Crucially, the study distinguishes the poet’s voice from that of her biographer, illuminating her poetry and legacy through an exploration of themes such as language and mystical experience, the `non-dual’ nature of translation, the devotional subjectivity created in her poetry, the fiction of femaleness and its relationships to women’s truth-speech in her biography, and the participation of modern festival publics in the creation of memory and experience of her legacy. Published Dec. 2011 at Routledge. A South Asian Edition paperback version of this book was published by Routledge and Manohar (Delhi) in February 2015, and published by Routledge-Taylor & Francis as a worldwide paperback on August 13, 2015.
Refiguring the Body: Embodiment in South Asian Religions. Edited by Karen Pechilis and Barbara A. Holdrege. The body is foundationally shared by all, ensuring both that every culture has its own distinctive ways of understanding and deploying it, and that our globalized world will bring these different modalities into contact. Contributing to our global understanding, Re-Figuring the Body: Embodiment in South Asian Religions introduces readers to the fascinating and distinguished history and present of South Asian religious theorizing of the body that emerges in a diversity of media, including aesthetic, medicinal, devotional and philosophical texts and practices. The richness and diversity of South Asian theories represented in this collection reveal important comparative themes that challenge and enhance knowledge of the body in Western discourses, vitalizing newly globalized inquiries into our shared, yet differently imagined human nature. Far from producing a legacy of disembodied spirituality, prominent traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism have produced detailed reflections on the nature, meanings and practices of the body by a diversity of interpreters, including philosophers, devotees, ritualists, poets, saints, dancers, healers and storytellers. Through an array of methodologies, including literary analysis and ethnography, the eleven essays in this collection lucidly illuminate these interpreters’ distinctive ways of thinking about the body as they contribute to the broader themes of the relationship between the materiality of the body and spiritual perfection, devotional subjectivities and transformations of the body, and gendered logics that both describe and dispute social bodies.
South Asian Religions: Tradition & Today. Edited by Karen Pechilis and Selva J. Raj. An accessible introduction to religions in South Asia, including Tribal Religions, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. Each chapter is written by an established academic researcher-teacher, who discusses the identity, practices and current issues of each religion, supplemented by a map, a list of key terms, questions for discussion, and recommended resources. An introductory chapter provides an overview of the distinctive nature of South Asian religions and offers guidelines for the academic study of religion. Primarily designed for students, this book would serve as a handy scholarly reference work for those seeking accurate information on the nature and variety of religion and culture in South Asia today, including curators, diplomats, journalists, researchers, and travelers. Published Nov. 2012 at Routledge. Hear a podcast discussion of this book in Humanities expert Professor Kirk Ott’s interview of Karen Pechilis, March 2014, at New Books in South Asian Studies. Thank you to Professor Kirk Ott and New Books Network: South Asian Studies.
Special Issue: “Not Quite Divine – Co-Stars and Supporting Casts in South Asian Religions” in the Journal of Hindu Studies9/2 (August 2016). Articles from the Conference on the Study of Religions of India, hosted at Drew University in June, 2013.
Online: Profile of Tamil poet-saint Karaikkal Ammaiyar for the Women in the World’s Religions and Spirituality Project, April 2016
“The Siva Nataraja Image: Poetic Origins,” Kalakshetra Journal Issue 4 (Feb. 2016): 1-16.
Online: “Bhakti and Tantra Intertwined: The Explorations of the Tamil Poetess Kāraikkāl Ammaiyār,”International Journal of Dharma Studies, 9 Feb. 2016. DOI: 10.1186/s40613-016-0024-x
“Ethnography, Women and the History of Religions,” Voice of Intellectual Man 6/1 (2016): 1-10.
“Devotional Subjectivity and the Fiction of Femaleness: Feminist Hermeneutics and the Articulation of Difference,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 30.2 (2014): 99-114. Special section on Comparative Feminist Hermeneutics, introduced by Professor Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Congratulations to JFSR on its 30th year anniversary of feminist publishing!
“Śiva as the Lord of Dance: What the Poetess Saw,” Journal of Hindu Studies 6/2 (2013): 131-153.
“The Female Guru: Guru, Gender and the Path of Personal Experience,” pp. 113-132 in Jacob Copeman and Aya Ikegame, eds., The Guru in South Asia: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge, 2012.
“Female Gurus and Ascetics” (5,500 words). Pp. 461-469 in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, ed.-in-chief Knut Jacobsen, Vol. 5. Leiden: Brill, Nov. 2013.
“Feminism” (8,500 words). Pp. 734-749 in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, ed.-in-chief Knut Jacobsen, Vol. 5. Leiden: Brill, Nov. 2013.
“Gender” (10,000 words). Pp. 788-805 in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, ed.-in-chief Knut Jacobsen, Vol. 4. Leiden: Brill, Oct. 2012.
“Current Approaches to Bhakti,” pp. 107-121 in Jessica Frazier, ed., The Continuum Companion to Hinduism. London: Continuum Publishing, 2011.
“Spreading Śakti” (article on female gurus), pp. 97-120 in Tracy Pintchman and Rita D. Sherma, eds., Woman and Goddess in Hinduism: Reinterpretations and Re-envisionings. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
Special Section on “Encounters in Ethnography Today” in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 21:1 (2009). Convener and Contributor of Introduction and Article, “Experiencing the Mango Festival as a Ritual Dramatization of Hagiography” (pp. 1-2, 50-65).
Special Section on “Feminist Theory and the Study of South Asian Religions” in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion24:1 (Sp 2008): 5-71 (also available through Project MUSE). Convener and Contributor of Introduction and Article, “Chosen Moments: Mediation and Direct Experience in the Life of the Classical Tamil Saint, Karaikkal Ammaiyar” (pp. 5-11, 11-31); these two articles were reprinted in Pamela Klaussen, ed., Women and Religion (Routledge, 2009).
Special Issue on “Bodily Transformations Across Indian Religions.” International Journal of Hindu Studies 10:2 (August 2006). Guest Editor and Contributor of Introduction and Article, “The Story of the Classical Tamil Woman Saint, Karaikkal Ammaiyar: A Translation of Her Story from Cekkilar’s Periya Puranam” (pp. 173-86).
The Graceful Guru: Hindu Female Gurus in India and the United States. Oxford University Press, 2004. The first book to comparatively analyze Hindu-inspired female gurus. The Editor and contributors to the volume illuminate the history and present of a diversity of female gurus’ potently authoritative teachings and practices and their local and global significance, through the lens of academic gender theories. Editor and Contributor of Introduction (“Hindu Female Gurus in Historical and Philosophical Context” pp. 3-49) and Article on “Gurumayi: The Play of Shakti and Guru” (pp. 219-243).
Read prizewinning journalist Kurt Streeter’s Los Angeles Times article, “Embracing the Love of Amma,” on female guru Ammachi/Mata Amritanandamayi/Amma (2010).
Read journalist and Fulbright Scholar to India Jake Halpern’s New York Times article, “Amma’s Multifaceted Empire, Built on Hugs,” on Ammachi (2013). His article in The New Yorker, “The Secret of the Temple” (2012), on the discovery of a billion-dollar gold treasure trove at the famous Sri Padmanabaswamy Temple in Kerala, India, is also fascinating.
The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India. Vidya Dehejia with essays by Richard H. Davis, R. Nagaswamy and Karen Pechilis Prentiss. American Federation of Arts and University of Washington Press, 2002. Contributor of Article “Joyous Encounters: Tamil Bhakti Poets and Images of the Divine” (pp. 65-79). Produced as a catalogue for the exhibition of the same name held at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum, Nov. 10, 2002 – March 9, 2003; see the online exhibition.
Online: “The Pattern of Hinduism and Hindu Temple Building in the U.S.” (2000) Author (Karen Pechilis Prentiss). Read online at Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, also cited on the website of Bob Abernethy’s Religion & Ethics Newsweeklyprogram.
The Embodiment of Bhakti. Oxford University Press, 1999. Author (Karen Pechilis Prentiss). Reframed the much-discussed religious path of bhakti in scholarship from its static definition of `devotion’ to a multidimensional characterization of it as `devotional participation’. Pechilis’s humanistic emphasis unlocked bhakti as a history of doing – interpretive thought, literary and musical composition, performance, community – and as an active locus of distinctive constructions of identity.
Steering Committee, Conference on the Study of Religions of India, 2010-Present
Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, American Academy of Religion 2003-2008. As part of its work, this group sponsors the valuable resource Ask Academic Abby for AAR members (archive sample here).
National Editorial Board, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 2009-Present. View the latest commentary on the question, `What is the importance of feminist and womanist work in religious and theological studies’, in lively and diverse video discussion from the FSR Across Generations Project (this link goes to my segment; there are plenty of fascinating reflections on the playlist – Across Generations FSR at YouTube).
Advisory Editorial Board, International Journal of Hindu Studies, 2012-Present
International Editorial Board, Religion & Gender, 2013 – Present
Editorial Board, International Journal of Dharma Studies, 2013-2016
Advisory Committee, Voice of Intellectual Man, 2015-Present
Translations of Classical Tamil Language Texts into English:
Tevaram (devotional poetry), in The Embodiment of Bhakti (OUP 1999): 157-188
Tiruvarutpayan (couplets on divine grace), in The Embodiment of Bhakti: 189-209
Tirumuraikantapuranam (story of the making of a canon), in International Journal of Hindu Studies 5:1 (April 2001): 1-44
Periya Puranam-Story of Nantanar (hagiography), in Eleanor Zelliot and Rohini Mokashi-Punekar, eds., Untouchable Saints: An Indian Phenomenon (New Delhi: Manohar, 2005): 95-107
Periya Puranam-Story of Karaikkal Ammaiyar (hagiography), in International Journal of Hindu Studies 10:2 (September 2006)
The poetry of female saint and author Karaikkal Ammaiyar and new translation of her biography in Interpreting Devotion (see above)
Jonathan Rose (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania) is the William R. Kenan Professor of History. His fields of study are British history, intellectual history, and the history of the book. He served as the founding president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, and as the president of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. His book The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (2001) won the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History, the Longman-History Today Historical Book of the Year Prize, and the British Council Prize. He has also published A Companion to the History of the Book (2007), The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation (2001), The Revised Orwell (1992), British Literary Publishing Houses 1820-1965 (1991), and The Edwardian Temperament 1895-1919 (1986). He is coeditor of the journal Book History, which won the Council of Editors of Learned Journals award for the Best New Journal of 1999. He has held visiting appointments at the University of Cambridge and Princeton University, and he reviews books for the Times Literary Supplement and the Daily Telegraph (London). His most recent books are The Literary Churchill: Author, Reader, Actor (Yale UP, 2014), which won the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Book Prize; and Readers’ Liberation (Oxford UP, 2018).
Education: B.A. in History cum laude (1974), Princeton University. M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1981) in History, University of Pennsylvania.
Areas of specialization: British history and history of the book.
Current research: A global history of reading.
Education: B.A. University of Michigan, 1994, Ph.D., Harvard, 2001.
Areas of Specialization: Early American history, American women’s history, American social history, history of childhood, and the origins of inequality.
Courses Taught: American Revolution, Colonial America, History of Work, History of Childhood, American Women’s History, African American History to 1877.
Publications and Conferences:
Awards and Other Academic Contributions:
(B.A., Johns Hopkins; M.A. & Ph.D., Princeton University), Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of the Drew University Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict (CRCC). Professor Taylor has served on the Drew faculty since 1991. Previous to his appointment at Drew, Dr. Taylor served for one year as the Acting Executive Director of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and as the Dean of Calhoun College and Instructor of Near Eastern Studies at Yale University. Dr. Taylor’s research and scholarship deal with the social history of religion in the medieval Islamic world and the crisis of religious leadership in the contemporary Islamic world. He is the author of In the Vicinity of the Righteous: Ziyara and the Veneration of Muslim Saints in Late Medieval Egypt (Brill, 1999), and a number of articles on aspects of popular piety in Islam. He is currently working on a study about the social construction of moral imagination in the medieval Islamic world. Dr. Taylor has lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East and he has directed fifteen DIS (Drew International Seminars) in Egypt, Israel and Yemen. An avid scuba diver, Dr. Taylor is also a certified scuba instructor and frequently teaches scuba at Drew.
John Lenz (Ph.D. Columbia University) is Chair of the Department of Classics. He teaches ancient Greek history, literature, language, philosophy, archaeology, myth, and religion. He is interested in the history of ideas and the legacy of Classical thought in succeeding centuries, the “Classical tradition.” He has presented numerous papers on intellectuals and society in ancient Greece, the transition from paganism to Christianity, and the use of Classics at the time of the founding of the modern Greek state. His interest in the history of ideas led him to utopianism, or the study of how ideas may or may not change history. He has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Greece and as president of the Bertrand Russell Society. His published articles include “Bertrand Russell and the Greeks,” “Deification of the Philosopher in Ancient Greece,” and contributions to The Dictionary of Art (now Grove Art Online). Read more on his personal page.