Janet Jakobsen is a Professor of Women’s Studies and the director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Her research focuses on religion, gender, and sexuality in American public life; social movements and feminist alliance politics; feminist and queer ethics; and global issues of economics and violence. Her latest book project is titled The Value of Ethics: Sex, Secularism, and Social Movements in a Global Economy.


Elizabeth Bernstein is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Sociology at Barnard College. Her research has focused on the sociology of gender and sexuality; the sociology of law; and contemporary social theory. Her current work explores the convergence of feminist, neoliberal, and evangelical Christian interests in shaping US policies around the trafficking of women. Her scholarship has been recognized by the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, AAUW, the Mellon Foundation, and the American Sociological Foundation.


Anupama Rao is Associate Professor of History at Barnard College. Her research interests include the history of anti-colonialism; gender and sexuality studies; caste and race; historical anthropology; social theory; and colonial genealogies of human rights. Her book, The Caste Question (University of California Press, 2009), produces a theory of caste subalternity with a specific focus on the role of anti-caste thought in producing alternative genealogies of political subject-formation through the vernacularization of political universals. Her recent publications include Discipline and the Other Body (Duke University Press, 2006); “Death of a Kotwal: Injury and the Politics of Recognition”, Subaltern Studies XII; Violence, Vulnerability and Embodiment (co-editor, special issues of Gender and History, 2004); and Gender and Caste: Issues in Indian Feminism (Kali for Women, 2003). Professor Rao has served as president of the Society for the Advancement of the History of South Asia of the American Historical Association (2010); director of the project “Liberalism and its Others” at the Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference at Columbia University; and as a member of the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (2010-12).


Bernard Faure is the Kao Professor of Japanese Religion at Columbia University. His research focuses on Chan/Zen and esoteric or Tantric Buddhism and his work is influenced by anthropological history and cultural theory. He has produced work on topics such as the construction of orthodoxy and heterodoxy; the Buddhist cult of relics; iconography; and sexuality and gender. His current research deals with the mythico-ritual system of esoteric Buddhism and its relationships with medieval Japanese religion. His English publications include: The Rhetoric of Immediacy: A Cultural Critique of Chan/Zen Buddhism (Princeton, 1991); Chan Insights and Oversights: An Epistemological Critique of the Chan Tradition (Princeton, 1993); Visions of Power: Imagining Medieval Japanese Buddhism (Princeton, 1996); The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality (Princeton, 1998); The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender (Princeton, 2003); and Double Exposure (Stanford, 2004).


Elizabeth A. Castelli is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Religion. She is a specialist in biblical studies, early Christianity, feminist/gender studies in religion, and theory and method in the study of religion. Currently she is particularly interested in the “afterlives” of biblical texts — how the Bible is deployed and recycled in contemporary social, political, and cultural expressions and debates. Her English translation of Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini’s San Paolo, the never-produced script for a film about St. Paul, will appear in early 2014 from Verso Books UK. She is the founding editor of the scholarly journal Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds. She is also at work on a collection of essays on the theme of confession. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Early Christian Studies, the academic advisory board of the journal Religion and Gender, and the advisory board of the Center for Religion and Media at New York University.


Jack Hawley, Professor of Religion, joined Barnard’s faculty in 1986. His research focuses on the religious life of north India and on the literature that it has spawned in the course of the last 500 years. Most of the fifteen books that he has authored concern Hinduism and the religions of India, but others are broadly comparative. His current major project, India’s Real Religion: The Idea of the Bhakti Movement, deconstructs and reconstructs one of the principal ways in which Indians have told their religious history. Professor Hawley has served as director of Columbia University’s South Asia Institute and has received multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow.


Rachel Fell McDermott is Professor and Chair of the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department and specializes in South Asia, especially India. Her research interests focus on Bengal and the Hindu-goddess-centered religious traditions from that part of the subcontinent. She is also committed to the study of comparative religion, and teaches comparative courses in which important religious themes are traced across cultures. Her forthcoming book Of Fortunes and Festivals: Money, Power, and the Goddesses of Bengal, focuses on the Durga, Kali, and Jagaddhatra Pujas and the relation between economics, politics, and religion as seen through the lens of these 300-year-old public festivals.


Gale Kenny is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Barnard College. Her work focuses on religion, race, and gender in the nineteenth-century United States and the Atlantic World, and in particular, Protestant missionaries’ relationship to the antislavery movement and to humanitarian activism. She is currently writing a history of the “missionary sensibility” in relation to Protestant theology, organizations like the American Colonization Society, sentimental literature, and the abolitionist movement. In 2010, she published Contentious Liberties: American Abolitionists in Post-Emancipation Jamaica (University of Georgia Press, 2010).


Mana Kia is Assistant Professor of Indo-Persian Studies in the department of Middle East, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. Her interests are the connective social and cultural histories of West, Central and South Asia from roughly the late 17th through the 19th centuries, with a particular focus on Indo-Persian literary culture and social history. Some of the issues with which she is preoccupied include ruptures and continuities between the early modern and modern periods; inter-Asian transregional travel and migration; gender and sexuality; and historiographies beyond nationalism. She is currently finishing a book titled Sensibilities of Belonging: Transregional Persianate Communities before Nationalism, which critiques protonationalist modes of envisioning Persianate cultures and societies and offers new modes of understanding the importance of the circulation of people, texts, and ideas between Iran and India at the end of the early modern period.


Mark C. Taylor is the Chair of the Department of Religion. A leading figure in debates about post-modernism, Taylor has written on topics ranging from philosophy, religion, literature, art and architecture to education, media, science, technology and economics. The many awards and honors he has received include: Wesleyan University Distinguished Alumnus Award (1998), Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Professor of the year (1995), Rektor’s Medal, University of Helsinki (1993), American Academy of Religion Awards for Excellence for his books Nots (1994) and Altarity (1998), and “Guggenheim” Fellowship (1979-80). His many books include: Journeys to Selfhood: Hegel and Kierkegaard (1980); Erring: A Postmodern A/Theology (1984); Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion (1994); Hiding (1997); About Religion: Economies of Faith in Virtual Culture (1999); The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture (2001); Confidence Games: Money and Markets in a World Without Redemption (2006); Mystic Bones (2007); and After God (2007).