University of Florida Homepage

Visiting Faculty

Ravi M. Gupta

Ravi M. Gupta is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at The College of William and Mary. Prior to this, he taught at Centre College of Kentucky and the University of Florida. He holds a doctoral degree in Hindu Studies from Oxford University and recently served as the Shivdasani Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Ravi is the recipient of three awards for excellence in teaching. He is the author of The Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Vedānta of Jīva Gosvāmī: When Knowledge Meets Devotion (Routledge, 2007) and co-editor of The Bhāgavata Purāṇa: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Columbia University Press, 2013). He is currently editing a volume on Caitanya Vaiṣṇava philosophy for Ashgate’s World Philosophies series and co-authoring (with Dr. Kenneth Valpey) another book on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa for Columbia University Press. Ravi’s research interests lie in the intersection of Vedānta philosophy, north Indian devotional traditions, and Purāṇic commentary. He has lectured widely on these themes and published numerous articles in academic journals.

Ravi currently serves as President of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies, which meets concurrently with the American Academy of Religion. In 2008, Ravi was invited to ceremonially greet Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of Hindus in America during his first visit to the United States, and in 2012 he was invited to meet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama during the latter’s visit to Virginia.

Kiyokazu Okita

Kiyokazu Okita is currently a JSPS post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Indological Studies, Kyoto University as well as a visiting research fellow at the Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, University of Hamburg. Starting from April 2013, he will be serving as an assistant professor at the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University.

Prior to his teaching at the Department of Religion, University of Florida, he obtained his D.Phil. from the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford. His doctoral thesis focuses on Vaiṣṇava Vedānta in Early Modern North India. Based on his thesis, he is currently preparing a monograph titled, Hindu Theology on Trial (tentative).

Deriving from his expertise in medieval Hinduism, he has published articles and book reviews in Indo-Iranian Journal, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Journal of Indological Studies, Journal of Hindu Studies, Religions of South Asia and so on. He has also written book chapters in edited volumes including Bhakti beyond Forest (ed. by Imre Bangha, Manohar, forthcoming) Introduction to Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Philosophy (ed. by Ravi Gupta, Ashgate, forthcoming), Public Hinduisms (ed. by John Zavos SAGE Publications, 2012).

His latest research examines the tension between ethic and aesthetic in the Kṛṣṇa devotional tradition, focusing on the works of Rūpa Gosvāmī and Jīva Gosvāmī in the sixteenth century.

Howard J. Resnick

Howard J. Resnick, a distinguished teacher of the ancient bhakti yoga tradition, has written and taught for over forty years throughout the world. Most notably, he is the first westerner in history to successfully translate and comment upon the canonical Bhāgavata Purāṇa from within the tradition.

Professor Resnick received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit & Indian Studies from Harvard University. As a former visiting scholar at UCLA, he has taught courses exploring the history, philosophies, and religions of India at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and, most recently, here at the University of Florida. He has also published articles with such institutions as Harvard, Columbia, and the University of California. Having lectured at leading universities throughout the United States, Europe, India and South America, Professor Resnick is much sought after as a speaker for colleges, universities, divinity schools, civic groups, and religious organizations of all kinds.

Professor Resnick has recently completed his first novel, in which a contemporary story frames the ancient narrative of King Puranjana from the Fourth Canto of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. His current project is to present the great epic of South Asia, the Mahābhārata, as a three-part historical novel.

Kenneth Valpey

Kenneth R. Valpey (Ph.D. 2004, University of Oxford, Faculty of Theology) is a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Oxford University) and a regular visiting scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies’ Professorship in Indian Religions. In addition to his book Attending Kṛṣṇa’s Image: Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Murti-sevā as Devotional Truth (Routledge 2005) he has published articles on Hindu and Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava thought and practice in the Journal of Vaiṣṇava Studies, the Journal of Hindu Studies, and the Beide Journal of Philosophy (University of Peking). His chapter on ‘Iconology and Worship’ in the Continuum Companion to HInduism has been published in 2011 and, in the Brill Encyclopedia of Hinduism, his articles on ‘Pūjā and Darśana’ and ‘Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism’ have appeared. In collaboration with Dr. Ravi M. Gupta, he is now completing two volumes on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (Columbia University Press).