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Vasudha Narayanan

Department of Religion



Office Location: 104 Anderson Hall

Areas of Specialization: Islam in Tamilnandu, Islamic Literature in Tamil

Vasudha Narayanan is Distinguished Professor, Department of Religion, at the University of Florida and a past President of the American Academy of Religion (2001-2002). She was educated at the Universities of Madras and Bombay in India, and at Harvard University. Her fields of interest are the Hindu traditions in India, Cambodia, and America; visual and expressive cultures in the study of the Hindu traditions; and gender issues. She is currently working on Hindu temples and traditions in Cambodia

She is the author or editor of seven books and numerous articles, chapters in books, and encyclopedia entries. In addition, she is also the associate editor of the five-volume Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from several organizations including the Centre for Khmer Studies (2007); the American Council of Learned Societies (2004-2005); National Endowment for the Humanities (1987, 1989-90, and 1998-99), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1991-92), the American Institute of Indian Studies/ Smithsonian, and the Social Science Research Council. She was the president of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies from 1996-1998. Dr. Narayanan was named University of Florida’s Teacher Scholar of the Year in 2010.

Selected Publications

Recent Conference Presentations and keynotes in the area of South Indian Islam:


“Veda, Purana, and Mantra in Tamil Islamic Literature.” Session on A Proliferation of Friends: Hindus, Muslims, and Jains in History, Narrative, and Ritual in South Asia, Annual Meeting, American Academy of Religion, Baltimore, November 2013

“Shared Ritual Spaces: Hindus and Muslims in Kovalam and Nagore in South India.” Furman University, April 2013.


“Love that heals, traditions that cleave: Encounters between Hindus and Muslims.” Keynote Address in Symposium on Sufism as a Mediating Force in South Asia. Sponsored by Connecticut College, The American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies, and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC)/ Carnegie Corporation. October 2011.

Publications in the area of Islam in Tamilnadu:


“Religious Vows at the Shrine of Shahul Hamid.” Dealing with Deities: Religious Vows in South Asia, edited by William Harman and Selva Raj. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 65-86.


“Nagore: Dargah of Hazrat Shahul Hamid.” Dargahs: Abodes of the Divine, edited by Mumtaz Currim and George Michell. Marg, Fall 2004, 136-147


“Religious Biography and Regional Identity.” Indian Islamic Traditions, 711-1750. Edited by Richard Eaton. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003, 393-410.


“The Strains of Hindu-Muslim Relations: Babri Masjid, Rituals, Music, and other Areas where the Traditions Cleave.” Hinduism and Secularism: After Ayodhya, edited by Arvind Sharma. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2001, 159-202.


“Religious Vocabulary and Regional Identity: The Tamil Cira Puranam [Life of the Prophet].” Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, edited by Bruce Lawrence and David Gilmartin. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000, 74-97.

“The Tamil Ramayana and its Muslim Interpreters.” In Questioning Ramayanas: Gender, Politics, and Multiple Perspectives within a South Asian Narrative Tradition. Edited by Paula Richman. Berkeley: University of California Press and New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000, 265-284.


“Shared Ritual Spaces.” Religious Studies News. Atlanta: Scholars Press, February 1998.