Meet our esteemed panel of speakers from the 2021 inaugural Understanding Hinduphobia Conference!
Featured Speakers included:
Jeffery D. Long is the Carl W. Zeigler Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania, where he has taught since receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in the year 2000. This year (2021), Elizabethtown College has given Dr. Long its Ranck Award for Research Excellence. In 2018, he received the Hindu American Foundation’s Dharma Seva Award for his ongoing work to promote accurate and culturally sensitive portrayals of Indic traditions in the American education system and popular media. He has spoken in such prestigious venues as the University of Chicago, Yale University, Princeton University, and the United Nations. He is the author of A Vision for Hinduism, Jainism: An Introduction, the Historical Dictionary of Hinduism (first and second editions), and Hinduism in America: A Convergence of Worlds, as well as being the editor of the volume Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific and a co-editor of the Buddhism and Jainism volumes of the Springer Encyclopedia of Indian Religions, and the volume Beacons of Dharma: Spiritual Exemplars for the Modern Age. He also is the series editor of Explorations in Indic Traditions: Ethical, Philosophical, and Theological, for Lexington Books. He is an initiated member of the Vedanta Society, established by Swami Vivekananda in 1894, and is active in the Hindu community in North America.
Formerly of the IAS, Arvind Sharma is the Birks Professor of Comparative Religion in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has also taught in Australia (University of Queensland and Sydney University) and the USA (Northeastern, Temple, Boston and Harvard) and has published extensively in the fields of comparative religion and Indology. He was instrumental, through three global conferences (2006, 2011, 2016), in facilitating the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World’s Religions. His recent books include Religious Tolerance: A History; The Ruler’s Gaze: A Study of British Rule over India from a Saidian Perspective; Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography; Hinduism and Its Sense of History; and, Decolonizing Indian Studies. He has contributed to and edited Our Religions: The Seven World Religions Introduced by Pre-eminent Scholars from Each Tradition. He is also the general editor of the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2017-).
Meenakshi Jain has recently been awarded Senior Fellowship at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. She has been Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research. She was formerly Associate Professor of History at Gargi College, University of Delhi. She was also Fellow of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. Her areas of research include cultural and religious developments in Indian history. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2020 for her contribution in the field of literature and education.
Her recent publications include Vasudeva Krishna and Mathura (forthcoming); Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples (2019); The Battle for Rama – Case of the temple at Ayodhya (2017); Sati – Evangelicals, Baptist Missionaries and the changing Colonial Discourse (2016); Rama and Ayodhya (2013); The India They Saw: Foreign accounts of India from the 8th to mid-19th century, 3 Vols., (2011); and, Parallel Pathways (2010).
Dr. Yvette Claire Rosser, was given the name RamRani by her Guru Neem Karoli Baba. She is an American writer and scholar, who self-identifies as Hindu. Dr. Rosser has investigated the ubiquitous Indo-phobic bias that is found in secondary level social studies textbooks used in American classrooms. She had taught Westerners, especially teachers, the basics of Hinduism. See her research at: YvetteRosser.com. Her Ph.D. dissertation, “Curriculum as Destiny: Forging National Identities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh,” is a study of the politics of history in South Asia. The book, “Islamization of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks”, (RUPA, New Delhi, 2003) grew out of her dissertation study. Rosser is currently working on her next book titled, “The Politicisation of India’s Historiography”.
Vishal Ganesan is an attorney, media commentator, and the curator of the Hindoo History project, which is dedicated to understanding how Americans conceived of the “Hindoo” in the 19th and 20th centuries. By focusing primarily on newspaper clippings, Hindoo History aims to describe and contextualize how the average American’s attitudes towards the Hindoo formed and changed over time. @HindooHistory is a multimedia project that exists on multiple digital platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, and Substack. In addition to his archival research, Vishal has also discussed his work on podcasts such as Bharatvaarta and Indus Think.
Indu Viswanathan, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University – Indu received a BA in Economics from Cornell University, and an MA in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has worked in the field of education for twenty years as a teacher, curriculum developer, teacher educator, and nonprofit research director. She recently completed her doctoral work in teacher education at Teachers College. Her research focuses on the immigration, education, and the transnational consciousness of second-generation Indian American teachers. Indu is a second generation Hindu American raising third generation Hindu American children. In addition to having experienced how Hinduism is taught in American schools as a student, she has seen how it impacts her children and where it sits in conversations about school, immigration, and teacher education. Indu is keenly aware that the academic narrative about Hinduism is controlled by a small group of influencers who both reinscribe coloniality and do not appear open to scholarly, liberal dissent. At the same time, she has been inspired by the openness and generosity of her academic mentors and feels encouraged by real possibilities and spaces for us to add Dharmic voices and reverence for adhikara to the conversation.
Parth Parihar is a final-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Economics Department of Princeton University, from which he earlier obtained his B.A. in Mathematics in 2015. The focus of his research lies at the intersection of economic theory and political economy. His work sheds light on the unique incentives that prevent efficient multi-agent coordination in dynamic, long-run settings by studying collective action problems and bargaining from a game theoretic perspective. Parihar’s other research interests include electoral politics and political polarization. He is also currently working on a paper that unpacks the political economy of Hinduphobia and other, related anti-religious bigotries.
Parihar also currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Hindu Students Council (HSC), the largest Hindu youth organization in North America, having earlier served as General Secretary and President. His pieces on Hinduism and on political economy have appeared in The Huffington Post and Noteworthy: The Journal Blog.
Alex Galitsky is Communications Director of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR). In his role, Galitsky oversees the organization’s communications strategy, public relations, and media outreach. He also leads the Impact Media Institute, an upcoming initiative aimed at combating and confronting genocide denial in the world today.
Alex Galitsky was born and raised in Australia, graduating from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences with First Class Honors in Government Affairs and International Relations.
Prior to joining the ANCA-WR, Galitsky worked across a range of fields in the space of government relations, community outreach, and human rights research. He has previously worked at the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) specializing in government relations, as well as for a member of the Australian Federal Parliament working in the space of community outreach.