Link to book on publisher's site

Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies

A Biennial Award Honoring Excellence in Scholarship


Every two years, the society grants an award for the “Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies.” The award, which carries an honorarium of $500, alternates between two categories, theology/philosophy and history/ethnography, each covering a four-year period.

The history/ethnography award is dedicated to the memory of Selva J. Raj, a pioneering scholar of Hindu-Christian studies and active member of the society. The current winner (for 2017-2021) is announced below.

The next prize cycles will be:
Theology/Philosophy, 2019-2023 – To be presented at the 2024 annual meeting
History/Ethnography, 2021-2025 — To be presented at the 2026 annual meeting

Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies

(History/Ethnography), 2017-2021

The Society for Hindu-Christian Studies is pleased to announce that Jason Keith Fernades is the winner of the Selva J. Raj Award for the Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies (History/Ethnography), 2017-2021, for his book Citizenship in a Caste Polity: Religion, Language, and Belonging in Goa (Orient Blackswan, 2020). The author is is a researcher at the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA) at ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon. Sincere congratulations to Dr. Fernandes!

The society will hold a panel discussion celebrating this book at its November 2022 meeting in Denver, CO.

Congratulations are due as well to the other finalists for this award: Chad M. Bauman, Anti-Christian Violence in India (Cornell University Press, 2020); Kristin C. Bloomer, Possessed by the Virgin: Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Possession in South India (Oxford University Press, 2018); and Sonja Thomas, Privileged Minorities: Syrian Christianity, Gender, and Minority Rights in Postcolonial India (University of Washington Press, 2018).

We would like to extend special thanks to the Book Award Committee that served for this award: Nathaniel Roberts (chair), University of Göttingen; Corinne Dempsey, Nazareth College; Chandra Mallampalli, Westmont College; Rachel McDemott, Barnard College; and Claire Robison, Bowdoin College.

Nominations Now Being Accepted

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019-2023 Book Award in Hindu–Christian Studies (Theology/Philosophy). To be eligible, books must be published between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2023, and be in the area of theology/philosophy. Please email nominations to Francis X. Clooney, SJ, chair of the current Book Award Committee.

At the society’s annual meeting in November 2023, the Book Award Committee will announce a shortlist of books under consideration. Then, by mid-2024, the committee will announce the winner. The award will be presented at a special session of our November 2024 Annual Meeting. This session will also feature a panel discussion of the book, with the author invited as respondent.

Past Winners

Winners of the Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies award in past years are listed below. The society extends its ongoing appreciation to the authors for their extraordinary contributions to scholarship in this field.

2015-2019 (Theology/Philosophy), Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How Deep Learning Matters (University of Virginia, 2019).Link to publisher.
2013-2017 (History/Ethnography), Nathaniel Roberts, To Be Cared For: The Power of Conversion and Foreignness of Belonging in An Indian Slum (University of California Press, 2016).Link to publisher.
2011-2015 (Theology/Philosophy), Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Divine Self, Human Self: The Philosophy of Being in Two Gita Commentaries (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).Link to publisher.
2009-2013 (History/Ethnography), David Mosse, The Saint and the Banyan Tree: Christianity and Caste Society in India (University of California Press, 2012).Link to publisher.
2008-2011 (Theology/Philosophy), Michelle Voss Roberts, Dualities: A Theology of Difference (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010).Link to publisher.
2006-2008, Chad Bauman, Christian Identity and Dalit Religion in Hindu India, 1968-1947 (Eerdmans, 2008).Link to publisher.
2003-2005, Eliza F. Kent, Converting Women: Gender and Conversion to Christianity in Colonial South India (Oxford University Press, 2004).Link to publisher.
2000-2002, Corinne Dempsey, Kerala Christian Sainthood: Collisions of Culture and Worldview in South India (Oxford University Press, 2000).Link to publisher.
1997-1999, Julius J. Lipner, Brahmabandhab Upadhyay: The Life and Thought of a Revolutionary (Oxford University Press, 1999)Link to publisher.
1994-1996, Francis X. Clooney, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology among the Srivaisnavas of South India (State University of New York Press, 1996)Link to publisher.
1991-1993, Diana L. Eck, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey From Bozeman to Banaras (Beacon Press, 1993)Link to publisher.