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Affiliated Faculty

Anita Anantharam

Anita Anantharam joined the University of Florida’s Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research as Assistant Professor in 2006. Professor Anantharam did her undergraduate work in Women’s Studies at Columbia University, her M.A. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her Ph.D. in South and Southeast Asian Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests are in the fields of nationalism and feminism in South Asia, women’s movements, and cultural history. She is the editor of Mahadevi Varma: Political Essays on Women,Culture, and Nation a volume of translations, and has published a book titled Bodies that Remember: Women’s Indigenous Knowledge and Cosmopolitanism in South Asia with Syracuse University Press (2011) which is a comparative study of anti-state poetry from India and Pakistan during key moments of religious revitalization in the twentieth century.

Vandana Baweja

Vandana Baweja is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture and the Sustainability Program at the University of Florida. She received her Ph.D. in History & Theory of Architecture at the University of Michigan in 2008. She was trained as an architect in New Delhi and earned her Masters in History & Theory of Architecture at the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture in London. Professor Baweja’s doctoral research focused on the history of tropical architecture along the networks of the British Empire. She has presented her work at several conferences nationally and internationally and has published parts of her doctoral research in the form of book chapters. In 2008, Professor Baweja was awarded the Oberlin-Michigan Exchange Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Jonathan Edelmann

Jonathan Edelmann (D.Phil., Oxford University, 2008) is Assistant Professor of Hinduism, Department of Religion, at the University of Florida. He is an editor for the International Journal of Hindu Studies and author of Hindu Theology and Biology with Oxford University Press, which won a John Templeton Foundation Award. Edelmann was a fellow with the American Academy of Religion for two years, held a Post-doctoral fellowship with Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, and was a Shackouls Honors College Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Religion at Mississippi State University. His research is on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, an important source of culture, fine arts, philosophy, theology, and narrative in South Asia. He conducts research on the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava interpretation of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and related texts such as the Bhagavad Gītā and Upaniṣads. Edelmann is also interested in the manner in which Hindu thought might respond constructively to contemporary issues in the philosophy, with a special focus on issues of rationality and epistemology, philosophies of science, ecology, and conceptions of nature. He teaches in two areas: Religions of Asia and Religion and Nature, often emphasizing the philosophical underpinnings of religious traditions, especially with regard to conceptions of self, religious practice, and ultimate reality. He has published in a wide variety of leading academic journals in Religious Studies, Consciousness Studies, and Indology, for example the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Zygon: Journal of Science and Religion, and the Journal of the American Oriental Society.

Kathleen M. Erndl

Kathleen M. Erndl (Ph.D. ’87, University of Wisconsin, South Asian Language and Literature: Religions of South Asia) is an Associate Professor at Florida State University and holds a courtesy appointment with the Department of Religion/CHiTra at UF. Dr. Erndl teaches in the field of South Asian religions, especially Hinduism, as well as gender and religion, comparative studies, and Sanskrit. Professor Erndl’s publications include Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual and Symbol (Oxford, 1993), a co-edited collection of essays entitled Is the Goddess a Feminist? The Politics of South Asian Goddesses (New York University Press and Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), and articles on Sakta traditions, spirit possession, women’s religious expressions, methodology, and gender issues in Hinduism. She is currently writing a book entitled The Play of the Mother: Women, Goddess Possession, and Power in Hinduism. Other research interests include interactions between Hinduism and Buddhism in India, cross-cultural appropriations of Indian goddesses in North America, and Hinduism in the Caribbean. Professor Erndl has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hayes, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.

Joan D. Frosch

Joan D. Frosch is Professor of Dance and Assistant Director of the School of Theatre and Dance, affiliate faculty of the Centers for African Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, and consultant for such agencies as the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. The 2003-2004 Gwendolen M. Carter Fellow in African Studies at the University of Florida, Professor Frosch is a dance ethnographer, Certified Laban Movement Analyst, choreographer and author. Co-director and co-founder of UF’s Center for World Arts (1996), a living laboratory exploring the interface of arts and culture, her research has attracted national and international funding, and numerous honors and awards, such as the national Lilly Fellowship for innovative curriculum in Dance in World Cultures, the National Endowment for the Arts (Dance-Creativity), and the Cologne Choreographers’ Forum for her choreography, China.

Professor Frosch trained at the School of Performing Arts, The Juiliard School, California Institute of the Arts, Columbia University and the Laban Institute of Movement Studies. She has taught on the faculties of the University of Maryland, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Wesleyan University, Rotterdamse Dansacademie in the Netherlands, the International School of Beijing, and founded and directed a summer performing arts program based at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. She has also served as Advisor to the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folklife African Immigrant Project, President of the Florida Dance Association, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Congress on Research in Dance. Professor Frosch is a founding member of the Africa Consortium, a national organization of curators, presenters, and scholars dedicated to the vigorous artistic exchange of contemporary African performance.

Joseli Macedo

Joseli Macedo is an assistant professor in UF’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning as well as the director for UF’s Center for International Design & Planning.

Vasudha Narayanan

Vasudha Narayanan is Distinguished Professor, Department of Religion, at the University of Florida and a past President of the American Academy of Religion (2001-2002). She was educated at the Universities of Madras and Bombay in India, and at Harvard University. Her fields of interest are the Sri Vaishnava tradition and Hindu traditions in India, Cambodia and America.  She is currently working on Hindu temples and Vaishnava traditions in Cambodia.

She is the author or editor of seven books and over ninety articles, chapters in books, and encyclopedia entries. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from several organizations including the Centre for Khmer Studies (2007); the American Council of Learned Societies (2004-2005); National Endowment for the Humanities (1987, 1989-90, and 1998-99), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1991-92), the American Institute of Indian Studies/ Smithsonian, and the Social Science Research Council. She was the president of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies from 1996-1998.

Allysa B. Peyton

Allysa B. Peyton is the Curatorial Associate for Asian Art at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. From her first museum assignment in 1999, she has known that museums are the place for her. She received her B.A. in art (metal casting) from Michigan State University and her M.A. from the University of Miami in art history. Since 2008, she has co-curated and provided research support for exhibitions at the Harn, and co-curated an exhibition Temples and Festivals: A Celebration of Indian Art from the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art Collection with Vasudha Narayanan. One of the main goals behind her work on exhibitions is to make Asian art and culture accessible to a broad range of audiences, from the scholar to the casual museum visitor. Interdisciplinary exhibitions, online and digital components to exhibitions, and collaborations with libraries are important components in the exhibitions process. She is currently in the process of organizing an exhibition of South Asian painting, slated to open during the Spring 2013 semester.

Her research interests include Indian painting from 17th century to contemporary, the production and reception of illustrated manuscripts including ragamala paintings, the legacy of Roy C. Craven, imperial libraries of the Mughal empire, living traditions and their influence of folk art production, and the relationships between art of the subcontinent and the whole of Asia. In 2009, she authored the journal article Essential Treasures of Modern Indian Art: Works by Jamini Roy at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art with Jason Steuber. Last year, she published an exhibition and book review on Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior in the peer-reviewed publication of West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture. She also serves as the series co-editor of the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Manuscript Series, which is published by the University Press of Florida. She enjoys teaching 1-credit classes for the honors department (Un)common reading program as her schedule allows.

She is a member of the American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA), which is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study and awareness of the art of South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayan regions.

Whitney Sanford

Whitney Sanford received her B.A. in English and Philosophy from Bowdoin College and M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in north Indian devotional traditions. She teaches and researches in two main areas: Religion and Nature and Religions of Asia, and her current work lies at the intersection of religion, food (and agriculture), and social equity, focusing on South Asia.

Her current book project “Being the Change: What Gandhi Can Teach Us about Sustainability, Self-Sufficiency, and Non-violence” explores Gandhi’s influence on contemporary intentional communities in the United States. She has conducted fieldwork in Missouri, Iowa, California, and Florida to discern how communities are translating aspects of Gandhian social thought, e.g. non-violence, voluntary simplicity, and appropriate technologies, into practice.

Her recent publication Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture (University Press of Kentucky, 2012) uses Hindu agricultural narratives to consider how we can provide food in a sustainable and just manner. She conducted fieldwork in Baldeo, India, examining narratives and practices related to Balaram, a deity associated with agriculture.

Her first book Singing Krishna: Sound Becomes Sight in Paramanand’s Poetry (SUNY 2008) focuses on Braj devotional traditions and explores the role of devotional poetry in ritual practice. She has published articles in JAAR, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Worldviews and Alternative Krishnas, edited by Guy Beck (SUNY Press, 2005).