The University of Florida (UF) has created the nation’s first Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions (CHiTra) to encourage the research, teaching, and public understanding of Hindu culture and traditions. Housed in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, our center emphasizes interdisciplinary work and the study of Global Hindu traditions. We focus on the fields of art, architecture, Asian languages and literatures, philosophy, performing arts, healing, women’s studies, and the environment, as well as on water, gender and social justice issues. Our center brings together experts from across UF’s campus and creates a network of scholars working in Hindu Studies in Florida to collaborate on research, create new course offerings, and host lectures, seminars, symposia and conferences.
Through the activities of CHiTra, the study of Hindu traditions transcends its traditional boundaries in one or two departments and is being integrated into mainstream academic study across the campus. We study its rich heritage not just in India, but in many parts of the world including South East Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa, and explore its expansion into a transnational phenomenon.
The center enriches the understanding of Hinduism both within the academic community and among the general public. In time, we seek to create opportunities for interdisciplinary interaction and co-operation between scholars of the Hindu tradition from around the world and scholars in other disciplines and fields.
In today’s ever changing global environment, CHiTra seeks to enhance public appreciation of the Hindu tradition by reaching out to the community through sponsored art exhibits, dance, and musical performances in collaboration with UF’s College of Fine Arts and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art.