Swayam Bagaria appointed to teach Hindu Studies at Harvard Divinity School


Photo credit: Danielle Daphne Ang/ Harvard website

Our Bureau

Cambridge, MA

Scholar Swayam Bagaria has been named Assistant Professor of Hindu Studies at Harvard Divinity School with effect from January 1, 2024. Bagaria was most recently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Hindu Studies at HDS and was named to that position in 2022. Before his time at HDS, Bagaria was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Virginia in the College Fellows Program. He received his PhD in anthropology from Johns Hopkins University in 2020.

“I am thrilled to welcome Swayam Bagaria to the HDS faculty,” said HDS Dean Marla F. Frederick. “Professor Bagaria is not only an emerging scholar, but also a proven and appreciated teacher. His ethnographic perspective on lived religion today and his research on the relationship between classical Hinduism and popular Hinduism in contemporary India will allow Hindu Studies to better flourish at HDS and Harvard.”

“I am excited to join HDS at what seems like an inflection point in the history of the School. Religion, even if just as a cluster of biases or as a set of ethical constraints, has always been important for most of our endeavors in the world but it was rarely acknowledged as such,” said Bagaria. “My strength has always been my curiosity and receptivity to different disciplinary frameworks and methods. I find that reframing a problem from multiple perspectives and understanding the trade-offs between them can break the rut of being trapped in scholarly echo chambers. Practically, I try and achieve this in my research collaborations but even more so in my teaching.”

An anthropologist interested in the psychosocial aspect of religion, particularly Hinduism, Bagaria’s work combines computational, cognitive, and socio-cultural methods to understand the formation and persistence of religious and religion-like beliefs and commitments in contemporary India.

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