Our 2022 Annual Meeting Program

Denver, Colorado, November 19-22, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion

Friday, November 18
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. MST
Convention Center, 705

Discussion of Citizenship in a Caste Polity by Jason Keith Fernandes, winner of the 2022 Selva J. Raj Best Book Award in Hindu-Christian Studies (History/Anthropology)

Moderator: Kalpesh Bhatt, University of Toronto


Uday Chandra, Georgetown University in Qatar

Akhil Thomas, Harvard Divinity School

Claire Robison, Bowdoin College

Brandon Vaidyanathan, Catholic University of America

Respondent: Jason Keith Fernandes, Centro de Estudos Internacionais – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (CEI-IUL)

Sunday, November 20
9:00 – 11:30 a.m. MST
Sheraton, Governor’s Square 11

Theme: The Missing Third in Hindu-Christian Studies

The field of Hindu-Christian Studies has matured in depth and breadth over the last three decades, with meaningful scholarly reflection that is theological, philosophical, historical, and anthropological. All critical reflection requires a measure of circumscription and/or reduction unto understanding. But what is omitted from such reflection when confined to explicitly Hindu and Christian interaction and exchange? What is neglected inadvertently or willingly with the pairing of these two substantives, and what dwells within something as simple and apparently benign as a hyphen? This panel is dedicated to identifying “the missing third” in Hindu-Christian studies. In this panel, five scholars provide, respectfully, a different missing third in Hindu-Christian Studies: Christian influence on Hindu missions in the late 19th through 20th centuries, human dreams of the mandala by Hindus and Christians, Jewish Indological scholars and scholarship, Sarna Adivasis resisting Hindu and Christian missionizing in Jharkhand, India, and the semantic field of “religion” on which “Hindu” and “Christian” exist as corresponding taxa. As we approach the thirty-year anniversary of the Society, there is no better time to interrogate the constitutive categories we take for granted. In fact, such an exploration reflects continuing maturation of Hindu-Christian Studies well into the twenty-first century.


Krishna Abhishek Ghosh, Institute for Vaishnava Studies: “Missionaries in India, Gurus in the West”

Joydeep Bagchee: “Jewish Contributions to the Hindu-Christian Dialogue”

Elsa Marty, University of Chicago: “Adivasi Religion as the Missing Third”

Glenn McCullough, University of Toronto: “Mandalas, Dreams, and the Human Body in Hindu-Christian Dialogue”

Kerry PC San Chirico, Villanova University: ““Hindu” and “Christian” and the Field on Which They Dwell: Signifying Systems, Meaningful Entanglements, and Future Possibilities”

Society for Hindu-Christian Studies Business Meeting

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. MST

Presiding: Stephanie Corigliano, Humboldt State University

Sunday, November 20
3:00 – 4:30 p.m. MST
Sheraton, Plaza Court 3

Theme: The Legacy and Ongoing Role of the World Council of Churches in Forging and Fostering Inter-religious Dialogue in the 20th and 21st Centuries

At a time when violence between and among religious groups seems to be reaching a crescendo, the need and necessity of sustained, honest, and sensitive interfaith dialogue is all the more urgent. The World Council of Churches has been responsive to this reality for the past 50 years, and the work of the first Director of the “Program for Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and Ideologies”, the Indian theologian, Stanley J. Samartha, has been foundational and transformational, not just through his legacy in investigating religious hospitality and interrogating simplistic claims regarding exclusive faith commitments, but also through his trailblazing efforts in organizing formal and informal interfaith encounters. However, the optimism of the early decades of inter-religious dialogue has waned and there is a yearning to do something different that takes into account the challenges of our own times. What can Stanley Samartha’s pioneering work teach us as we look for newer models of inter-faith dialogue for our age and time? The three presentations will re-examine aspects of Samartha’s work as we seek newer ways of fostering deeper understandings of hospitality and welcome in our messy world.

Presiding: Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida


Catherine Cornille, Boston College: “Stanley Samartha’s “dialogue into truth””

Joshua Samuel, United Theological College, Bangalore: “Blind Spots, Power, and Agency at the Dialogue Table: Decolonizing Interreligious Dialogue”

J Jayakiran Sebastian, United Lutheran Seminary/Gettysburg+Philadelphia: “The Unfailing Rainbow: Valorizing the Abiding Legacy of Stanley J. Samartha”

Respondent: Arun W Jones, Emory University

Monday, November 21
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. MST
Convention Center – 301 (Street Level)
This is a co-sponsored panel with the Comparative Theology Unit

Theme: God’s Body: Hindu-Christian Comparative Theology

Presiding: Bhakti Mamtora, College of Wooster

While much has been done to expose and subvert the conceptual, epistemological, and metaphysical presuppositions underlying representations of Hinduism during the colonial period and to allow Hindu traditions to speak in their own voices, one of the most visible facets of Hinduism – the rationale of the worship of God with a bodily form – remains underexplored. Drawing from philosophical and theological work in and about Christianity, the three papers in this panel address issues indispensable to a discussion of God’s bodily form in Hindu traditions. The first paper considers and attempts to preclude an unattractive upshot of countenancing God’s body, namely God’s having parts; the second considers the epistemological value of mystical perception of God’s body; and the third considers how embodiment and personhood are great-making properties, possessed by the greatest possible being, namely God.


Sarju Patel, University of Chicago: “Aquinas’s Bodiless God and a Hindu God’s Body: Hindu-Christian Philosophical Theology”

Sarang Patel, University of Chicago: “Perceiving God with Form: Circularity and Symmetry”

Akshay Gupta, University of Cambridge: “Divine Embodiment, Divine Personhood, and Perfect Being Theology”

Respondent: Francis X. Clooney, Harvard University